What better way to escape the cold this winter than to head to the local multiplex and see a flick? Novermber/December is the time when typically the studios roll out their “prestige” pictures but there’s also some fun blockbusters coming out as well.
The Box- James Marsden and Cameron Diaz play a couple struggling financially who receive a strange box in the mail on night and the next day recieve a visit from a mysterious man who tells them if the push the button in the box they will recieve $1 million but someone in the world will die. The movie is adapted from a short story by Richard Matheson, writer of I Am Legend, and directed by Richard Kelly, the director of Donnie Darko. It looks interesting but hopefully it’s more comprehensible than Kelly’s last couple of movies.
A Christmas Carol- Robert Zemeckis continues his quest for realistic CG with his adaptation of A Christmas Carol. The movie stars Jim Carrey in multiple roles and is in 3D but I don’t know if we really need another version of A Christmas Carol especially one with no Muppets or Disney characters.
The Fourth Kind- Milla Jovovich stars as Dr. Abigail Tyler, a psychiatrist who stumbles upon possible evidence of alien abduction when many of her patients claim to have had similar experiences. The movie is supposedly supported by archive footage but I think it might be a marketing ploy a la Blair Witch. It looks kind of creepy and if you’re not still freaked out by Paranormal Activity it might be worth a look.
The Men who Stare at Goats- This looks like a hilarious, Cohen brothersesque, comedy about George Clooney’s psychic special forces soldier. The movie also stars Ewan McGregor as a reporter researching the program and Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey as military higher ups. Clooney’s character engages in all kinds of bizarre activities like killing goats with his mind, breaking apart clouds and trying to walk through walls.
2012- Roland Emmerich is looking to unleash his biggest dose of disaster porn yet with 2012 starring John Cusack. Based on the Mayan calendar, the ending of the world is supposedly December 21, 2012. To Emmerich this means California sliding into the ocean and famous landmarks being destroyed by earthquakes and tidal waves. It should be an experience on the big screen but don’t go in expecting a great story or acting.
Planet 51- Dreamworks continues to try and climb the mountain up to Pixar’s level and this one looks harmless but probably won’t get them any closer. A suburb of an alien planet is invaded by an Earth astronaut and hijinks ensue. I like the fact that the alien’s dogs are Xenomorphs but I think this movie is going to be buried by A Movie that Shall Not Be Named. Oh, it also comes with an animated short called Live Music which was done by a number of animators collaborating on Facebook and featuring musicians like Steve Vai.
Fantastic Mr. Fox- Wes Anderson brings his quirky touch to a Ronald Dahl book about animals trying to stop their home from being destroyed. The movie has a very unique look and is mainly stop motion. It also has a great voice cast including Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson. I haven’t really seen any Wes Anderson movies but if that’s your thing you’re probably excited about this one.
Ninja Assassin- Korean pop star and Colbert nemesis Rain stars in the upcoming martial arts actioner. The Wachowski Siblings are producing it and it looks kind of stylish but no more original than your typical video game adaptation. It looks kind of like they wanted to get the license for say, Ninja Gaiden, but couldn’t so they made this instead.
The Road- I’ve been hearing great things about this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s award winning novel but it’s definitely not a fun popcorn movie. Viggo Mortensen stars as an unnamed father who struggles through a post apocalyptic wasteland with his son. It looks extremely grim and gritty and based on what I’ve heard about the movie and book, extremely depressing.
Armored- A sort of Reservoir Dogsesque heist movie about a young armored car driver who gets involved with a group of veteran’s plan to steal their next shipment totaling $42 million dollars. The gang shoots a cop and the rookie locks himself into a truck with the money. It doesn’t look like anything too spectacular but could be a fun thriller.
The Princess and the Frog- Disney’s, hopefully, big return to traditional animation is a take on the classic story about a frog who must be turned back into a prince by the kiss of a princess. The movie is set in New Orleans and looks to be taking advantage of the traditions of the area but will it be able to live up to classics like Aladdin and The Lion King?
Avatar- Expectations are ridiculously high for James Cameron’s upcoming epic. Battle lines are being drawn across the internet between those who think this will redefine 3D and possibly even movies in general and those that think it looks like a CG version of Fern Gully. With it’s astronomical budget the studio better hope the former group is right or else this could go down as one of the biggest bombs in movie history. I think James Cameron is fantastic but it just looks like a pretty good sci fi/action movie right now.
Sherlock Holmes- Guy Ritchie looks like he’s bringing us a super fun version of history’s most famous detective. Robert Downey Jr. is Holmes and Jude Law is Watson as they attempt to stop a dangerous group from destroying Britain. From the trailers it looks like the movie has a great sense of humor balanced by some brutal looking fights and I’m definitely on board.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus- If you’re looking for a big dose of WTF then look no further than this one. A doctor/showman who sells his soul to the devil must go on an inter-dimensional journey to rescue his daughter with the help of a mysterious stranger (played by Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law). It’s directed by Terry Gilliam who has brought us such mind fucks as Time Bandits, Brazil, 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.