Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Movies to anticipate in 2005! There's some good-looking stuff coming down the pike this year, and an excellent year for "Star Wars" and comic book fanboys lurks. Some I'm highly looking forward to:

• Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (May 20) Required listing on pretty much any blog discussing movies. Will it finish off the saga on a high note, or be as underwhelming as the other two prequels?

• Elizabethtown (July 29) Cameron Crowe is tied with Wes Anderson as my favorite writer/director these days, and I've yet to dislike one of his movies, even the oddball but tremendously heartfelt "Vanilla Sky." This new flick stars Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst, and promises more of Crowe's trademark wit and insight.

• Wallace and Gromit: The Movie (October 7) Woo hoo! I love the clay animation shorts of these gentle, witty British characters, and finally an entire movie starring them is coming.

Jarhead (Nov. 11) Sam Mendes, director of "American Beauty" and "Road to Perdition," hasn't gone wrong yet, and this movie based on the gripping Gulf War memoir by Anthony Stafford sounds highly promising, and what a cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Sam Rockwell, Peter Sarsgaard, Chris Cooper.

• Batman Begins (June 17) Christopher Nolan wowed with "Memento" and "Insomnia," what can he do with the caped crusader? If they play it as straight as it sounds, this could actually be the first 100% great Batman movie. (1989's "Batman" had me until Prince songs began playing.)

• Sin City (April 1) A guarantee this movie will look like nothing else out there, with its impressionistic, semi-animated/live action combo based on Frank Miller's ultra grim and gritty violent graphic novels. This year's "Kill Bill," I can't see this being a popular success, but frankly I'm just hoping they get the tone of the source right.

• The Fantastic Four (July) With a huge amount of trepidation, I might add. The venerable Marvel superhero family has some huge hurdles to overcome on the way to the screen — no-name cast, director best known for comedy lightweights like "Barbershop" and "Taxi," and a worry that "The Incredibles" might've stolen its thunder. But still, I'm interested to see what they've come up with, even if it's this year's "Catwoman."

• King Kong (Dec. 14) Peter Jackson remakes the 800-pound gorilla of monster movies. It's gotta be better than the 1970s disco Kong version, right? And it's Peter Jackson, so I'm there.

• The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (May 6)
A big-budget improvement on the 1970s bargain-basement BBC television version, and a solid cast. But, I'm still worried Douglas Adams' verbal sci-fi humor won't really translate to the screen, and the book feels more like a dated product of its time now.

• Clerks 2: Passion of the Clerks (unknown) Not entirely sure this will drop in '05, but Kevin Smith going back to his roots and revisiting the "Clerks" gang 10 years later is definitely something I'm interested in checking out.

• The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Christmas) Don't know many details about this one, but it's based on the famous, excellent series of fantasy novels and filmed in New Zealand. Sound familiar? I'm interested to see how it comes out.

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