Monday, January 10, 2005

DB Film Squad: The Outlook on 2005

Harry over at the always enjoyable Ain’t It Cool News wrote up a fairly extensive rundown of the Top 20 films to be on the lookout for in ’05. Here a quick paraphrasing of his list, along with a few notes and comments on my own.

20 – In the Realms of the Unreal: The Mystery of Henry Danger
“A documentary about the life of an unknown man. But one that created an entire universe in his home... Enchanted lands and fictional worlds...”

Hmm… this better not make me cry… I mean have really bad allergies, like I did recently while watching Finding Neverland.

19 – The Island
Great writers (two from the Alias writing staff) and incredible cast (Ewan MacGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan and Djimon Hounsou) so you can easily overlook Michael “Pearl Harbor” Bay as director and go see it.

18 – Paris, Je T’aime
Some kind of experimental mishmash of styles, directors, and actors. It’s got Steve Buscemi, but… this won’t be on my Gotta See list.

17 – Oliver Twist
After the triumph of The Piano, Roman Polanski is back for the retelling of this classic Dickens tale, featuring Ben Kingsley as Fagin. Now we’re talking Gotta See.

Please sir, can I have some more?

16 – Every Word Is True?
A movie about Truman Capote writing In Cold Blood? I’m a sucker for a story about writers, but I don’t know about this one. Fairly excellent cast, though, which might make me check it out: Toby Jones (as Mr. Capote), Anjelica Huston, Sigourney Weaver, Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock and Alan Cumming.

15 – Jarhead
Sam Mendes takes on the Gulf War I memoir by Bill Broyles, Jr. Another pretty great cast, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Sam Rockwell, Peter Sarsgaard, and Chris Cooper (who’s always interesting, even in bad movies, isn’t he)?

Does anyone else out there think that Three Kings (an action/comedy/thriller that takes place in Iraq around the time Bush I pulled the plug on helping the anti-Saddam resistance) was one of the best movies of the last 10 years?

14 – Zathura
I don’t know much about this movie, but it’s directed by Jon Favreau, who is proving a fairly good director (Made, Elf… which I’m very so-so on compared to most). This is an animated flick (at least in part), and the one still I saw was pretty amazing looking.

13 – Kung Fu Hustle
I’m not really a kung fu guy, but this looks to be a good one.

12 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The sci-fi classic finally makes it to the big screen. Everyone is expecting this film to be strange and funny and wonderful, and I hope no one’s let down.

11 – Ong Bak
More martial arts, this time from Thailand.

10 – Sin City
A Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino/Frank Miller joint saturated with gratuitous sex and violence. Sounds pretty good, right?

9 – Elizabethtown
The latest from Cameron Crowe. He’s getting to the point with me where I don’t have to know anything about the movie: I just go and see it. This one features Orlando Bloom in his first romantic comedy lead. That, and Kirsten Dunst, should bring many bottoms to movie theater seats.

8 – War of the Worlds
The Big Remake by Steven Spielberg. I think this has the potential to be good… or really not. I must admit I’m wary after snoozing through the visually stunning/otherwise boring Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

7 – Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
I’ve been off the Burton Bandwagon for about 14 years or so now. This is another animated one, and despite some good voice talent (Johnny “I Am in Every Movie Now” Depp, Helena Bonham Carter) I think I can safely skip this one.

6 – A Scanner Darkly
Cool title, adaptation of the very cool Philip K. Dick. The last big film brought to life from his work, Minority Report, turned out to be an interesting and fun ride, so I’m looking forward to this one. Strange/good cast makes it even more intriguing: Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Rory Cochrane

5 – The Wallace & Gromit Movie
Uh… no.

4 – Land of the Dead
More zombies from George Romero.
Is it just me or are there way too many thrillers and stupid looking horror flicks out right now?

3 – The New World
A story of John Smith, Pocahantas, the British, and the Native Americans of the 17th Century New World. I haven’t seen a good flick of this variety since Daniel Day Lewis intoned I will find you! in The Last of the Mohicans.

2 – Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
I honestly can’t say much about this one, except that it’s by Chan-Wook Park, it completes a Revenge Trilogy, and no one seems to know a lot about it.

1 – King Kong
Peter Jackson, Jack Black, Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Andy Serkis (Gollum’s back, baby!) , WETA, and a big-ass ape tearing junk apart. This is probably the one absolute must-see of the year. A home run here will make Jackson A List among A List directors.
Somewhat inexplicably, several promising films were left off the above list. Therefore, as a Bonus Feature…

Dumpster Bust Top 3 Films to Look Out for in ‘05

3 – Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
For millions worldwide, this is the end of the journey (or is it?). The second trilogy may pale in comparison to the first (and it really does), but the final descent of Anakin Skywalker into darkness and the set-up for Luke, Han, Chewie and Co. just can’t be missed.

2 – Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
(Yet) another Tim Burton/Johnny Depp hook-up, this time a remake of the classic children’s creepy/funny film featuring perhaps the best performance of Gene Wilder’s career. The trailer for the new one is really bedazzling and fun/strange, but I’m not quite as sold on this one as some others (see my thoughts on Burton above).

1 – Serenity
Forget everything else: this is the one that I’m scratching and biting and itching to see. The tragically canceled by bastard television execs (Fox… yuck) and little seen Firefly is back for big screen action. The enormously talented Joss Whedon is getting his shot at the big time here, and I know he won’t let his legions down.

Set 500 years in the future among vagabonds and misfits and rustler-western colonists of outer space, Serenity picks up with the adventures of Captain Mal Reynolds and his band of Browncoat outcasts. Great cast, great writing, great concept, great genre-blend of humor, suspence, and action that you always get with Whedon.

Just great. Go see it, and have a fun year at the movies!


The Sore Loser said...

Do you really think so highly of Three Kings? I liked the movie quite a bit, but I wouldn't let it go near my "top movies of the decade" list.

A King Kong remake sounds interesting, but I think I'll pass on the new Star Wars. I'm proud to say that I still haven't seen the latest one. In a way, I find that the suckiness of the latest trilogy has vindicated my view of the suckiness of the original trilogy, which is considerably at odds with the popular view. Though even I'll admit that, in light of Lucas's latest excrement, the original series looks like a work of genius.

Eric Berlin said...

I really love Three Kings. It's a great genre-blend of comedy, thriller, and somewhat serious/compelling back-story (it actually propelled me to investigate the aftermath of Gulf War I and Bush I's original support and eventual betrayal for an Iraqi revolution). It's also a great story with a great cast, directed superbly by Spike Jonez.

It's also just about the first movie I ever watched on a DVD player, so maybe that has a little to do with it. Who knows?

Don't let The Phantom Menace totally throw you off the Star Wars trail. I'll be the first to admit that it was an atrocity of a movie hands-down. But Episode II: Attack of the Clones was considerably better. Not great, but much better.

I kind of hear you regarding the Star Wars films, especially the first trilogy. They're so ingrained in American culture though, especially for guys, that it's a little bit difficult for me to step back and talk about how much I like them or dislike them. They're iconic films and I enjoy likening things from my own life to the Star Wars universe, but do I really want to sit down and watch The Empire Strikes Back? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

Zathura is a semi-sequel to Jumanji (although the studio insist it isnt), but features no Kirsten Dunst, so therefore renders itself inferior.

Sympathy For Mrs Vengeance and Elizabethtown are pretty much top of The Duke's list, alongside that star fight picture or whatever.

Duke De Mondo

Eric Berlin said...

Duke - A grand and wholehearted welcome to you and your Ms. Dunst obsessions to the Dumpster Bust party.

I had no idea that Zathuria had anything to do with Jumanji, purported or no. I had a still from the flick as my computer's wallpaper for a while: it was a cool shot of a house flying through space with all kinds of robot spaceships and asteroids around, kind of like a Wizard of Oz headtrip for the 21st Century.

I'm also an unabashed Jon Favreau fan, though I thought Elf was only passably good. All the same, Zathuria gets a greenlight.

I must remain with Serenity as the main obsession of the year, however. I almost want to see Star Wars to get the entire damned franchise out of the way so I (and we all) can get onto new frontiers in sci-fi-edness.

Or something.