Coming Up At The Movies This Year!
In the world of Animation and Comedies:
The Barnyard: The director of ACE VENTURA: WHEN NATURE CALLS offers up this CGI-animated tale of farm animals that sound like Kevin James, Courteney Cox Arquette and Danny Glover. What I don’t see here is A Pixar film, which means I’m not really interested.
Paramount Pictures, holiday.
Madagascar: The director of ANTZ offers up this CGI-animated tale of shipwrecked zoo animals that sound like Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett-Smith and David Schwimmer. What I don’t see here is A Pixar film, which means I’m not really interested.
DreamWorks, May 27.
Robots: You’ve seen the trailers already, and know that you get robots that sound like Halle Berry, Mel Brooks and Greg Kinnear. What you maybe didn’t know is that our own Brian (MONKEY MAN) Lynch had a hand in punching up the script, which makes me want to give it a look.
Fox, March 11.
A Scanner Darkly: If you’re a Philip K. Dick fan, or you read the weekly SQUIB CENTRAL here, you already know about this movie. If not, know that SCHOOL OF ROCK’s Richard Linklater is using a similar, but improved, version of the animation technique he used in WAKING LIFE. And finally Winona Ryder returns to the big screen. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve missed her. Pot-smokers Keanu Reeves and Woody Harrelson also star.
Warner Independent Pictures, Sept. 16.
Steamboy: From the director of AKIRA, which should be enough to intrigue you. Here, Otomo’s movie is a blend of hand-drawn animation and 3-D computer effects, in a story set in Victorian England–a young inventor prodigy must harness the energy in a mysterious metal ball to save London.
Triumph Releasing, March 18.
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride: It’s got Tim’s name over the titles, but this stop-motion tale is directed by Mike Johnson. Still, if you liked A NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, this’ll be right up your alley. It stars voicework from Burton troup-ers Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.
Warner Bros., Sept. 23.
Wallace & Gromit: If you’ve seen WALLACE & GROMIT on TV before, you know what you’re getting, just longer. And since it’s co-directed by Oscar-winner Nick Park and Steve Bob, it should be funnier, too.
DreamWorks, Oct. 7.
AprËs Vous: All I can tell you is the title means “after you.” “Daniel Auteuil stars as a Parisian restaurant manager who saves a distraught man from killing himself and then feels responsible for the man’s future happiness. JosÈ Garcia and Sandrine Kiberlaine also star. Directed by Pierre Salvadori.”
Paramount Classics, summer.
April’s Shower: “A chef struggles to provide the perfect shower, but her complicated relationship with the bride-to-be and the eclectic guests make for a chaotic get-together. Trish Doolan directed and co-stars with Maria Cina and Randall Batinkoff.”
here!/Regent Releasing, April 1.
Art School Confidential: From the makers of GHOST WORLD. Graphic novelist Dan Clowes really had some room to flesh out this story of a freshman at a prestigious East Coast art school, since the original story was only about 20 pages long. If it even approaches GHOST WORLD in quality, and the source material certainly does, it should be something special.
United Artists, TBA.
The Bad News Bears: Richard Linklater’s presence here makes me think the movie won’t be too tame a remake, which is the one fear in seeing an un-PC movie like the original get made over. Billy Bob Thornton as Buttermaker also gives me hope.
Paramount Pictures, summer.
Balls: Would any American film with this story have the, er, ‘nads to title the movie the same way? In this German flick, a soccer-playing German bakery worker gets tossed off his local team because he’s gay.
here!/Regent Releasing, Aug. 12.
The Baxter: “Michael Showalter directed and stars in this tale about a quintessentially nerdish accountant who can’t believe that he’s about to marry a beautiful, sophisticated woman.” In short, it’s a fantasy.
IFC Films, summer.
Be Cool: You know, Elmore Leonard’s sequel to GET SHORTY wasn’t all that great, actually. But the movie looks fun enough, and that scene of Travolta and Thurman dancing will surely suck people in. Don’t get me wrong, the book–about Chili Palmer entering the music biz–was still decent, it just didn’t quite have the zing of the original. I know everyone else loved THE ITALIAN JOB, but I hope director F. Gary Gray does better here than he did there.
MGM, March 4.
Beauty Shop: Queen Latifah stars in a kinda-sequel to THE BARBERSHOP. Tell me Jimmy Fallon’s nowhere to be found in this and I’ll be happy.
MGM, March 30.
Bewitched: I don’t know… not only do I not really need a remake of the old TV show, but I really don’t need a movie that’s about a movie version of the old TV show. Especially with Nicole Kidman trying hard to be as warm and funny as Elizabeth Montgomery. Why is there a good chance I’ll still see it, though? Will Farrell.
Columbia Pictures, July 8.
Casanova: Heath Ledger plays the legendary lover who faces his most daunting adversary ó a woman who refuses him. I can’t imagine what that must have been like. Directed by Lasse Hallstrˆm.
Touchstone Pictures, Dec. 25.
CSA: The Confederate States of America: I caught this last November at the Hamptons Film Festival and it was decent, if a little too serious of a parody.
IFC Films, July/August.
D.E.B.S: Sara Foster, Jordana Brewster (above), Meagan Good and Devon Aoki star in director Angela Robinson’s satire about a group of sexy, crime-fighting, secret-agent teens. Any movie with Meagan Good is good by me, but that title… it just calls to mind B.A.P.S., and that’s never a good thing.
IDP/ Destination Films/Samuel Goldwyn Films, March 25.
Death of a Dynasty: “Damon Dash’s mockumentary goes behind the scenes at hip-hop mecca Roc-a-Fella Records and features appearances by Jay-Z, Dr. Dre and Flavor Flav. As long as Brigitte Nielsen isn’t here, too…
TLA Releasing, March.
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo: Is it funny only to me that Mike Bigelow is the director? The original might only have been funny to me, too, but as long as Rob Schneider sticks to what he knows, he does stupid comedy better than just about anyone.
Columbia Pictures, Aug. 12.
Dorian Blues: “A high school outcast awkwardly comes out to his family, a priest and a social worker, then embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery while attending NYU. Michael McMillan stars. Directed by Tennyson Bardwell.”
TLA Releasing, June.
The Dukes of Hazzard: Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg? Stifler and a Jackass as Bo and Luke? Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke? So far, the only casting I’m sold on is Willie Nelson as uncle Jesse. But until I hear who’s playing Cooter, or Roscoe P. Coltrane, I’m wary…
Warner Bros., summer.
The Edukators: “A trio of young Germans’ habit of breaking into expensive homes and rearranging the furniture as an act of political rebellion turns dangerous. Daniel Br¸hl (“Good Bye Lenin!”) stars. Directed by Hans Weingartner.”
IFC Films, May 27.
Elizabethtown: Finally a new Cameron Crowe flick. And luckily, the story, a romantic look at Orlando Bloom as a down-in-the-dumps industrial designer and Kirsten Dunst as the sharp flight attendant who helps him through his father’s memorial in Kentucky, sounds much more like a good Crowe flick than VANILLA SKY. Even better, no appearance from Ashton Kutcher.
Paramount Pictures, July 29.
Fever Pitch: I was okay last time Nick Hornby’s excellent-but-British novel got remade as an American story, but I don’t know… Hornby’s extreme love of his Arsenal is now changed to Red Sox obsession, and most of us have had enough of the Red Sox for a while. Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly.
Fox, Oct. 7.
Formula 17: “A gay 17-year-old journeys to Taipei, locks eyes with a notorious playboy and attempts to win his heart.”
Strand Releasing, June.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Judd Apatow, of FREAKS AND GEEKS fame, directs THE DAILY SHOW’s Steve Carell as a middle-aged electronics store employee whose friends decide it’s time for him to go all the way? Yeah, it hopefully doesn’t get much better than this in comedy this year.
Universal Pictures, Aug. 19.
Fun With Dick and Jane: Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni turn to crime after getting knocked out by a corporate scandal. Based on an old George Segal-Jane Fonda movie, this is directed by GALAXY QUEST’s Dean Parisot. And if he could make a movie with Tim Allen that entertaining, he should be able to work wonders here.
Columbia Pictures, June 24.
A Good Woman: This might not be for me, despite the presence of Scarlett Johansson. It’s based on Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” and details misunderstandings and betrayals on the Italian Riviera of the 1930s.
Lions Gate Films, TBA.
Le Grand RÙle: “A journeyman actor’s talents are tested when he must conceal from his seriously ill wife that he did not land a role in a famous American director’s film. Directed by Steven Suissa. StÈphane Freiss, BÈrÈnice Bejo and Peter Coyote star.”
First Run Features, TBA.
Guess Who: Speaking of Ashton Kutcher… he’s here, in a remake of GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, as a guy about to marry Bernie Mac’s daughter.
Columbia Pictures, March 25.
Happy Endings: No, it’s not about successful massages, but since it’s from THE OPPOSITE OF SEX’s Don Roos and it explores the diversity and complexity of modern life through a multiplicity of stories involving adoption, sperm donors and pansexual couplings, it’ll no doubt not be far off. Lisa Kudrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Tom Arnold star.
Lions Gate, July 15.
Herbie: Fully Loaded: I was tempted to say “HERBIE’s not the only one,” since this movie co-stars Lindsay Lohan, but I figured I’d take the high road. Instead, I’ll just wonder how Michael Keaton got suckered into appearing here.
Walt Disney Pictures, June 24.
The Honeymooners: Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps play Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton. The trailer seems fine and all, but it’s just one more TV remake I didn’t really ever need to see.
Paramount Pictures, March 11.
The Ice Harvest: John Cusack is back to GRIFTing, along with Billy Bob Thornton. Their presence alone makes me happy, as does the fact that this is directed by Harold Ramis.
Focus Features, Nov. 4.
Ice Princess: Damn you, Michelle Trachtenberg, for making a movie I’ll never want to see. Would another EURO TRIP be so bad, compared to this story about a smart girl who wants to be a championship figure skater against her mother’s wishes?
Walt Disney Pictures, March 18.
In Her Shoes: “Motherless sisters (Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette) fight over a man but reconcile with help from their previously unknown grandmother (Shirley MacLaine).” Despite direction from Curtis Hanson, there’s not one thing in the preceeding sentence that makes me want to see this.
Fox, April 8.
Intimate Stories: “An old man, a traveling salesman and a young mother with a baby cross paths on the roads of southern Patagonia. With Antonio Benedicti, Javier Lombardo, Javiera Bravo. Directed by Carlos Sorin.”
New Yorker Films, March 4.
Jiminy Glick in Lalawood: How is it that the so-unfunny Martin Short character in the fat suit now has a big-screen movie on the way? Really, I like to think my sense of humor is pretty well-rounded, from base to sophisticated, but this character just makes me cringe. Since when is demeaning humor so celebrated?
Just Like Heaven: Mark Ruffalo, I still feel bad that you accepted a role in 13 GOING ON 30, since you’re capable of so much more. I don’t know if this is it, with you as a man who reluctantly discovers that the San Francisco apartment he’s sublet comes complete with a spirited young woman (played by Reese Witherspoon, above) who may or may not be a ghost, but we’ll see.
Kicking & Screaming: I can’t remember the last good kids’ soccer movie (LADYBUGS? Uh, no.) but Will Ferrell gives it a go anyway, coaching against his overly competitive father (Robert Duvall).
Universal Pictures, May 13.
King’s Ransom: “To avoid losing his fortune to his ex-wife, an arrogant businessman plots his own kidnapping. Anthony Anderson stars. Directed by Jeff Byrd.”
New Line Cinema, March 22.
Kung Fu Hustle: SHAOLIN SOCCER’s Stephen Chow makes this update of THEY CALL ME BRUCE. Okay, not really, but it is a parody of historical action flicks, anyway.
Sony Pictures Classics, March 25.
Last Holiday: Wayne Wang, what are you doing? Sir Alec Guinness is rolling around in his Jedi-coffin-thing, with this remake of his old flick starring Queen Latifah and LL Cool J.
Paramount Pictures, TBA.
A Lot Like Love: A lot like something I don’t want to see… Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet are in some sort of romantic comedy or other, but really, any of us who saw the trailer for Kutcher’s last romantic comedy, let alone any of the movie itself, know better than to check this out.
Touchstone Pictures, April 22.
Mail Order Wife: “Faux documentary in which the filmmaker pays for an obnoxious doorman from Queens to get a beautiful bride from overseas in exchange for the right to film them. Directed by Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko.”
Tartan Films, March 11.
Man of the House: Well, in the trailers, Tommy Lee Jones has proven to be as adept at comedy as he is at playing Two-Face. But there’s Cedric the Entertainer for laughs and cheerleaders for other thrills.
Columbia Pictures, Feb. 25.
The Man Who Copied: “Lazaro Ramos stars as a Brazilian copy machine operator who spends his nights fantasizing by drawing comic book art.” Which just means he doesn’t have high-speed Internet if this is how he’s fantasizing.
TLA Releasing, April.
The Man: The omnipresent Samuel L. Jackson joins up with Eugene Levy as they try to track down a murderer. Expect yelling, and laughs, respectively.
New Line Cinema, fall.
Matador: Want to see Antonio Banderas before Melanie got ahold of him? This ’86 Pedro AlmodÛvar movie has him playing a bullfighter.
Sony Pictures Classics, fall.
Melinda and Melinda: Woody Allen’s new flick tells the same story twice, once from a humorous point of view and once from the dramatic. Wonder which side Will Ferrell will be better at?
Fox Searchlight, March 23.
Millions: TRAINSPOTTING’s Danny Boyle gets back to crime and away from the zombies of his 28 DAYS LATER with this tale of a train robbery goes wrong.
Fox Searchlight, March 11.
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous: This movie will allow me to stick to my firm rule about never, ever seeing a movie with the word “FABULOUS” in the title. Especially when my secondary rule is to avoid Sandra Bullock flicks.
Warner Bros., March 25.
Monster-in-Law: Can Jane Fonda out-MONSTER J-Lo? Maybe. Poor Michael Vartan somehow got stuck in a movie dealing with both.
New Line Cinema, May 6.
Must Love Dogs: Diane Lane and John Cusack, and everyone’s favorite generic romantic comedy co-star, Dermot Mulroney all appear here.
Warner Bros., summer.
Nanny McPhee: Emma Thompson wrote and stars in this adaptation of Christianna Brand’s NURSE MATILDA books about a magical woman who comes to live with a widower and his seven ill-mannered children. Who would you expect the widower in this sort of movie to be? That’s right, Colin Firth.
Universal Pictures, TBA.
Nina’s Tragedies: “The graphic journal entries of a melancholy 14-year-old Israeli boy chronicle his infatuation with his beautiful, young and recently widowed aunt. Aviv Elkabets and Ayelet July Zurer star. Written and directed by Savi Gabizon.”
Old New Borrowed and Blue: “A young Danish woman’s wedding plans become more complicated with the arrival of a carefree Swede whose earlier disappearance landed the woman’s sister in a psychiatric ward. Sidse Babett Knudsen, Bjˆrn Kjellman and Lotte Anderson star. Directed by Natasha Arthy.”
Newmarket Films, TBA.
The Pacifier: Vin Diesel rips off Hulk Hogan’s MR. NANNY, and adds a dash of Arnold’s KINDERGARTEN COP. But, you know, he’s handled by the director of BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE, so expect it to be… much worse than the trailer.
Walt Disney Pictures, March 4.
The Perfect Man: Well, Heather Locklear is finally breaking down and playing a mom. Even worse, her daughter is Hilary Duff. Mr. Big is saddled with this sappy comedy, too.
Universal Pictures, Aug. 12.
The Pink Panther: Steve Martin takes over as Inspector Clouseau, and while the trailer looks like it’s going for very broad comedy, I still have interest in it. As long as THE CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN guy doesn’t repeat the formula he used in that movie.
MGM, Sept. 23.
Prime: Uma Thurman is the older woman to some lucky younger bastard.
Universal Pictures, TBA.
Rebound: That’s exactly what Martin Lawrence tries for here as he coaches some young kids. Lots of that going around.
Fox, April 15.
The Ringer: Now, there has to be one good dumb, un-P.C. comedy a year (more than one would be good, too) and this one, with Johnny Knoxville as a guy who fakes his way into the Special Olympics, could just be it. As long as they don’t go too sappy, which’ll probably happen.
Fox Searchlight, TBA.
Rumor Has It: How’s this for a cast in Rob Reiner’s new fim: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Shirley MacLaine and Mark Ruffalo all star in this family dramedy.
Warner Bros., April 15.
Saint Ralph: “A high school freshman, convinced that only a “miracle” can save his mother’s life, begins training for the Boston Marathon with help from a reluctant Catholic priest.”
IDP/Samuel Goldwyn Films, March 25.
Saving Face: “A Chinese American surgeon from Queens makes her first tentative steps toward a lesbian relationship just when her widowed 48-year-old mother turns up on her doorstep, pregnant. Michelle Krusiec, Joan Chen and Lynn Chen star. Written and directed by Alice Wu.”
Sony Pictures Classics, May 27.
Schultze Gets the Blues: “An accordion-playing retired German miner breaks with old habits and trades polka for Louisiana zydeco. Horst Krauss, Harald Warmbrunn and Karl-Fred M¸ller star. Directed by Michael Schorr.”
Paramount Classics, Feb. 18.
Sex, Politics & Cocktails: “Julien Hernandez directs and stars as a 30-year-old Cuban director, dissatisfied with his love life, who takes a walk on the gay side.”
here!/Regent Releasing, March 25.
Shopgirl: Steve Martin looks maybe 5 years too old to play the title character, but since he wrote the excellent novella, and adapted it here, he can do whatever he wants. How about setting a release date, Touchstone?
Touchstone Pictures, TBA.
Sky High: An academy for the children of superheroes is a nice premise for a film, especially one starring Bruce Campbell. Forget the director’s SURVIVING CHRISTMAS pedigree, this one, co-starring Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston, could be decent.
Walt Disney Pictures, Aug. 3.
Son of the Mask: Oh, Alan Cumming, I like to think you’re better than this. Jamie Kennedy, you’re probably not.
New Line Cinema, Feb. 18.
Torremolinos 73: “The erotic “education” films produced by a struggling encyclopedia salesman and his wife in 1973 Spain become porn hits in Scandinavia. Javier C·mara and Candela PeÒa star. Directed by Pablo Berger.”
First Run Features, April 1.
Undertaking Betty: Chris Walken in a funeral home comedy? Nice. Alfred Molina, Brenda Blethyn and Naomi Watts also star.
Miramax Films, TBA.
Untitled Jim Jarmusch: Bill Murray stars in quintessentially cool director’s latest film. Which means it might not be as boring as Jarmusch’s other films.
Focus Features, TBA.
Untitled Mike Judge Futuristic Comedy: They shouldn’t even change the title, this one does it for me. A man played by Luke Wilson participates in a hibernation experiment and wakes up 1,000 years later to discover he’s the smartest guy on Earth. Mike Judge, it’s about time.
Fox, Aug. 5.
Up and Down: “Prague serves as a melting pot for a series of parallel stories dealing with immigration and estranged families. Petr Forman, Emilia Vasaryova and Natasa Burger star. Directed by Jan Hrebejk (“Divided We Fall”).”
Sony Pictures Classics, Feb. 25.
A Wake in Providence: “A young Italian American actor (Vincent Pagano) living in California returns home to Rhode Island for his grandfather’s funeral with his African American girlfriend (Victoria Rowell) as a reluctant surprise for his family. Directed by Rosario Roveto Jr.”
Indican Pictures, March 11.
Wannabe: “A New York model moves to L.A. to be an actress and befriends a struggling singer-songwriter. With Pell James, Steven Strait and Kip Pardue. Directed by Meiert Avis.”
Lions Gate Films, TBA.
Wedding Crashers: Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson team up? As a pair of divorce mediators who pick up women by going to weddings where they weren’t invited? AND Chris Walken shows up, too? Oh, you bet.
New Line Cinema, July 22.
You I Love: “A Moscow anchorwoman finds herself in an unusual love triangle when she discovers her ad exec boyfriend in bed with another man. Directed by Olga Stolpovskaya and Dmitry Troitsky.”
Picture This!, Feb. 11.
Coming Up At The Movies This Year!