Thursday, August 18, 2005

12 Remaining 2005 movies to look forward to

Fall is when the "prestige" movies start coming out; there's plenty I'm intrigued by this fall and winter. Here's what I'm most looking forward to, during this Week Of Lists:

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1. Elizabethtown. If Cameron Crowe makes a movie, I'm there. "Almost Famous," "Singles" and "Say Anything" all rank in my top-of-all-time lists, and I even quite liked the underrated "Vanilla Sky." This time he's back with what he does best, a tale of relationships starring Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst and Alec Baldwin. Crowe's got a great track record for getting phenomenal performances out of actors that are never equaled (Kate Hudson, Cuba Gooding Jr.), so I'm eager to see what he does with Bloom and Dunst. (Opens 10/14)

2. King Kong. Peter Jackson's followup to "Lord of the Rings." Need I say more? The first trailer impresses mightily. (Opens 12/14)

3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe. I loved this series as a kid, and am eager to see what's done with it now that they can throw tons of CGI money at it. Hopefully it won't be overly sentimental, and show off some of C.S. Lewis' darker tones. (12/9)

4. Wallace And Gromit: The Curse of the Wererabbit. I'd bet you won't find a better kids' movie this fall than the latest from Brit Nick Park. His Wallace and Gromit shorts are beautifully witty and I can't wait for the full-length feature. (10/7)

5. A History of Violence. Now we get away from the fanboy stuff and into the "serious" movies. Director David Cronenberg is always worth viewing, and casting Viggo Mortensen in the lead in a tale about one man's exposure to violence is very promising. Big winner at the Cannes festival too. (9/23)

6. Walk The Line. Johnny Cash's story comes to life starring Joaquin Phoenix as the man in black. A fun preview trailer makes this look like they pulled it off. (11/18)

7. Jarhead. I've loved Sam Mendes' two previous movies, "American Beauty" and "Road to Perdition." Now he takes on the first Gulf War with an all-star cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsaard and Jamie Foxx. If I were a betting man, I'd wager this might well win Best Picture next year. (December?)

8. The Fountain. A fascinating-sounding story: "Spanning over one thousand years, and three parallel stories, The Fountain is a story of love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of our existence in this world." And it's the long-awaited new movie by "Requiem for a Dream" director Darren Aaronofsky. Sure to be unique. (December)

9. Mirrormask. "Sandman" creators Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean create a dazzling hybrid of animation and live action that at the very least will be one the most visually amazing movies of 2005. (9/30)

10. The Weather Man. Nic Cage can either be great or awful, but this small-scale movie of a loser's search for redemption sounds like it could be the former. (10/28)

11. Shopgirl. I love Steve Martin's brittle, insightful novella, and of course it's ended up as a movie. A little unsure of the casting of Claire Danes, but casting Mr. Martin himself in the movie sounds great, and it's far loftier material than the junk he's chosen lately. (10/21)

12. V For Vendetta. This probably will be a car-crash in action like previous Alan Moore comic adaptations "From Hell" and "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." The first trailer combines some great visuals with jaw-droppingly awful deviations from the book and "Matrix" variations. I will see it at some point, but as a Moore fanatic, I'm already braced for disappointment. (11/4) (Edit: Apparently this is now delayed until March. Not a positive sign, usually...)

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