Monday, August 25, 2008

Fall Movie Preview, Part I

The summer blockbusters have all come and gone. Eddie Murphy and Kevin Costner have destroyed their careers. Batman, Iron Man, and Hellboy have all bolstered theirs. Now Hollywood turns from saving the world to more important matters like winning awards. Here is my annual Fall Movie Preview. As always, these are just my opinions based on not having seen a single one of these films. Not that that should stop me.

RIGHTEOUS KILL – Robert De Niro and Al Pacino together again as two cops. Scenes where they’re both on the screen at the same time had to be shot in Imax format in order to contain their performances.

THE DUCHESS – Keira Knightley costume drama. The true story of the Duchess of Devonshire’s stormy marriage to the Duke of Earl.

APPALOOSA – Ed Harris writes/directs/stars in this western. Co-starring Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger, and Mr. Ed.

MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA – Spike Lee, World War II. Guess. Brothers kick some Nazi ass!

BODY OF LIES – The trailer just announces “DiCaprio” and “Crowe”, which is all you need because everybody knows Leo DiCaprio and Louisiana State Senator A.G. Crowe.

EAGLE EYE – Shia LeBeouf and Michelle Monaghan are tormented by someone on their cellphones who assumes control of their lives. It’s the nightmare we AT&T customers live with every day. Story by Steven Spielberg. I always wonder why, if it was such a great idea. he didn’t direct it himself.

TYLER PERRY’S THE FAMILY THAT PREYS – Who cares what it’s about? It’s Tyler Perry. Should gross $200 million the first weekend.

NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST – No, it’s not another THIN MAN movie. Two teens have a wild night. Starring Michael Cera (JUNO, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) and the pictured Kat Dennings (SNOBS, a Levine/Isaacs failed pilot).

GHOST TOWN – Ricky Gervais goes Hollywood High Concept. He can see ghosts. He has to break up a marriage for some concocted reason. Not sure if he took this assignment because he really loved the script or a house opened up in the Malibu Colony.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3 -- Dear God!

SAW 5 – If Shawnee Smith took a chainsaw to the High School Musical kids, that I’d pay to see.

MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA – It’s a sequel. It’s from the studio that made SHREK. Expect MADAGASCAR: THE MUSICAL to hit Broadway the week the DVD is released.

RACHEL GETTING MARRIED – Anne Hathaway in her most challenging role since GET SMART. She plays a recovering drug addict who attends her sister’s wedding and causes an uproar when she claims the chopped liver swan is alive.

THE WOMEN – Writer/director Diane English tells me every week at the gym that it’s good. SEX AND THE CITY without the sex, MAMA MIA! without the music. I guess what you’re left with is, well...“the Women”.

BLINDNESS – In the land of the blind the one eyed man is Julianne Moore. Based on Nobel winner Jose Saramago’s novel about a society where no one can see. Sure. Now you want to pay for satellite radio.

NIGHTS IN RODANTHE – Richard Gere & Diane Lane in a midlife crisis weeper. This is their third film together. “Everybody got excited about the chemistry we have”, says Lane. They played a husband and wife in UNFAITHFUL and audiences cheered when she cheated on him. Not sure about that chemistry thing.

AUSTRALIA – Sweeping epic starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, neither of whom had to apply for work visas. Cattle ranching saga. Explains why rib-eye prices are up at the Outback Steakhouse.

THE ROAD – from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name. Viggo Mortensen in touching father-son movie that Hollywood studios thought was too dark and grim. Producers were unwilling to compromise and add Abba songs.

BOLT – CG-animated version of THE TRUMAN SHOW with animals. James Lipton does a voice. Sample dialogue: “What is your favorite swear bark?”

Part II tomorrow.

25 comments:

Tallulah Morehead said...

Re: THE WOMEN"
"SEX AND THE CITY without the sex, MAMA MIA! without the music."

And since it throws out the Clare Boothe Luce play and the Anita Loos adaptation, which retained most of Luce's dialogue, in favor of an "Improved" script by Diane English, it's The WOMEN without THE WOMEN.

I was up for a role in the 1939 film version, but George Cukor told me I "wasn't the type."

Cheers.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

I was up for a role in the 1939 film version, but George Cukor told me I "wasn't the type."

Tallulah, I could easily imagine the wet bar you would have had on set. I'll bet it would have included alcohol so potent that it would have turned Joan Crawford into a giggly girl.

Or, at best, less likely to attack with a wire hanger.

sephim said...

Here's my Fall preview - THE WOMEN will have THE GAY.

And that's without seeing the trailer.

And just to top it all off, some name-dropping - the guy who played Josh Baskin in BIG.

Ahomer said...

On your last list of releases upcoming, you had one film whose basic plot was about a guy who goes to surf in Israel. Did that ever open? The others on your list did, for better or worse.

As for the idea of remaking "The Women", I am not surprised, nor do I mind some of the actors. But in a way, that film "First Wives Club" with Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Bette Midler already took that sensibility in Cukor's film, and updated it in a smart way already.

To now do a remake that balances the tightrope between camp, nostalgia, and whatever they think they go for, just something revealingly new, you've got to remove the whole premise from the era of Reno-divorces, Manhattan socialites, wives/marriages like they were packaged back then, and the requirement for a Rosalind Russel willing to do some slapstick turns.

But why bother?! That's why "First Wives Club" worked, it condensed these points, it just got to something similar from another route.

And with LESS ego-actors to have to focus on (who will all be going on in press about how well they got along blah blah )

Anonymous said...

My question is why is Bette Midler in that photo for THE WOMEN when Jada Pinckett Smith is supposed to be the 5th star?

Always trying to keep the black woman down.

-Nikki

Dr. Leo Marvin said...

Scenes where they’re both on the screen at the same time had to be shot in Imax format in order to contain their performances.

Hey, that's not fair. Next to Pacino, de Niro is way restrained. If Pacino is Gallagher, de Niro is Jackie Vernon.

emily said...

Nikki -

My question is why are Candice Bergen, Cloris Leachman & Carrie Fisher not in that photo for THE WOMEN?

Always trying to keep the old women down?

Anonymous said...

Nikki, Emily, you additional list of stars in "The Women" is just bringing me down further. Where there THAT many roles in the original, it was basically different combinations out of 6. This is already an astounding amount for one film... men or women.

Tom Quigley said...

Maybe they should have titled it THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN PLUS TWO....

Emily Blake said...

I don't understand why anyone on this planet would watch The Women. And I actually LIKED Waiting to Exhale.

And I really don't understand why anyone would see Nights in Rodanthe. So far all I see in the trailer is two mooney eyed old people who meet then stay up late talking then fall in love and spend eternity holding each other's faces and weeping.

BLECH.

rms said...

A film of The Road? I could barely make it past page 10. However with Viggo... get rid of the kid and I'll walk down that road with you!

Mary Stella said...

Appaloosa is based on a book by one of my all time favorite authors Robert B. Parker.

How many people, fresh from watching the Olympics see Bolt advertised and think, "Wow. That fast that got a movie out about that runner."?

Anonymous said...

Emily,

Ok, that made me laugh.

-Nikki

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Mary Stella, you stole my thunder. APPALOOSA is indeed based on a Robert B. Parker novel. For those who don't know, he writes the Spenser private eye books, and the TV show SPENSER was based on that character. APPALOOSA, the novel, is basically Spenser in a Stetson.

Broshow said...

The Women? You certainly can't make one without Meryl Streep and of course, DeNiro/Pacino doing a Bosom Buddies turn.

Blindness is a fantastic book and should be read in lieu of going to see Hollywood screw up another great piece of fiction.

Nights in Xanthum: Richard Gere has become the Richard Chamberlain for a new generation of women. You just can't have a chick flick without him. Hoyanisquatsi was the only successful movie that you couldn't pronouce and I doubt this one will prove the exception.

Appaloosa; in all fairness given the author's body of work, it should star Robert Urich instead of Vito.

Overhype: you just know the Olympic trailer pounding of the DiCaprio/Crowe movie is a sure kiss of death. It was the most confusing thing I've ever seen. If they had blitzed promos for Memento that heavily, no one would have ever gone to see it.

D. McEwan said...

"Hoyanisquatsi was the only successful movie that you couldn't pronouce"

Nor spell. It was Koyaanisqatsi. And actually, by the end of the movie you COULD pronounce it, because the title was chanted slowly and ponderously about a half million times in the lugubrious Phillip Glass score on the soundtrack over the course of the admittedly-hypnotic film. All the Hopi Indians in the audience (that would be none) were flattered and impressed. Everyone else was going "Huh?' as they woke back up.

I-MAX but BRAIN-MIN.

"Anonymous said:
you[r] additional list of stars in 'The Women' is just bringing me down further. Where there THAT many roles in the original[?]"

I just dug out my theater program for a production of THE WOMEN I saw at Melodyland Theater a hundred-thousand years ago (A production that feaured Pamela Mason, Joan Caulfield, Dagmar, and Miss Beverly Hills, with "Fashions by Mr. Blackwell"), and there are 10 featured roles, and 35 speaking roles total.

Incidentally, THE WOMEN has been remade once before, in 1956, as THE OPPOSITE SEX. (An inherently seixst title, as it implies Men as The Sex and Women as The Opposite Sex.) In that one, they threw out the primary gimmick, no male chacrcaters ever seen, so Leslie Nielson became the cheating husband.

The cast included June Alyson, Joan Collins (Well, if you were stuck married to boring June Alyson, wouldn't you cheat with Joan Collins?) Delores Grey, Ann Miller, Ann Sheridan, Agnes Moorehead ("Cousin Agnes" squeals Tallulah, "Get a good look at her and you realize why she needs an extra 'Big O."), Joan Blondell, Charlotte Greenwood, and Alice Pearce.

Let's hope they've updated sexist message of THE WOMEN, that when a husband cheats, it's the wife's fault, and that married women can't afford pride. The original THE WOMEN is about as unliberated as you can get.

jbryant said...

broshow: Urich was, um, unavailable.

John said...

Saw 5, High School Musical 3.
You could then do the post-game recap (or, as Bob Murphy used to say "The Happy Recap") on KABC.

D. McEwan said...

No, no. Don't use the word "Recap"! It's "retard" anmd "Handicap" shoved together. You'll have pickets calling for the use of "rechallenged".

I had a sister-in-law who spent many years in a wheelchair. at her funeral, the fatuous minister (The only kind they make) referred to her as "Handi-capable." I asked him afterwards, "Why not go all the way, and call her "Happy-capped"?

Anonymous said...

I just dug out my theater program for a production of THE WOMEN I saw at Melodyland Theater a hundred-thousand years ago (A production that feaured Pamela Mason, Joan Caulfield, Dagmar, and Miss Beverly Hills, with "Fashions by Mr. Blackwell"), and there are 10 featured roles, and 35 speaking roles total.

Well, sure there was also a fashion show inserted into the damn thing wasn't there?

But the main, necessary plot roles were wife, mistress, socialite friend who exploits whichever fits, "real" albeit innocent friend, comedy-relief Cougar, and if you want to expand, little daughter and the wonderful proprieter of the Ranch (Ma Kettle)

Anyone else doesn't fit and is the equivalent of cameo or walk on to deliver the news ("did you hear that so and so...") Also limited backgrounds, all interiors, it's a stage play with few closeups as opposed to ensemble.

David K. M. Klaus said...

Emily said


> My question is why are
> Candice Bergen, Cloris
> Leachman & Carrie Fisher
> not in that photo for THE
> WOMEN?
>
> Always trying to keep the
> old women down?


I know it's just me, but whenever I think of Carrie Fisher, who I know intellectually is my contemporary (early 50s), the image which comes to mind is that incredible young beauty of The Empire Strikes Back, which I will retain in my memory to my dying day, I have no doubt.

Stacey said...

All but The Road sound iffy and dicey. May not want to pay to see any of them. Dunno yet.

PS: DH and I have a wee crush on Kat Denning. She's funny and hot - a winning combo. Is my girl crush wrong??

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Doug: Since you're privy to a lot of inside H'wood gossip, perhaos you can coment on this. You mention June Alyson as boring. I heard she was famous for bestowing her favors on many a Hollywood bigshot, especially while kneeling. True, or just the usual b.s.?

D. McEwan said...

I've never heard that about June, the epitome of the corn-fed farm girl. Doesn't mean she didn't, but I never heard she did.

(I am, of course, deeply flattered and humbled to be considered the got-to guy for a question of this type.)

Who I HAVE heard that about was Nancy Davis, who became Nancy Reagan. Kitty Kelley, in her bio of Nancy, quotes Peter Lawford as referring to Nancy as "The Best Blowjob in Hollywood," a title I worked hard to win for myself. I can believe she did it, but I can't believe she was that good at it.

But then again, she sucked spectacularly as a First Lady.

(I can't believe I'm typing this as I listen to Madeline Albright address the convention.)

Of course, June's commercials for "Depends" adult diapers have made June Alyson the - ah - face of adult incontinence.

"Thou swell, thou witty, thou --- ah, excuse me. I'll be right back."

Broshow said...

Thanks to Ken, as this is the most entertaining blog going. As opposed to reading the idiotic postings of the pro McCain troglodytes on Townhall.com, it is refreshing to read the great musings left by a pretty sharp and funny bunch. It's also nice not seeing people attack each other.
That said, I'd forgotten that Bob Urich had left us, I thought that like many, he was merely waiting for his 'Pulp Fiction'.
Also to Doug, went it comes to the 'best blow job in town', I'd think it hard (sorry) to come up with a winner when it is the coin of the realm but I'd always heard that the inexplicable success of the Gabor sisters (if you count marriages to wealthy men) was due to the lessons Mama Gabor gave the girls in the fine art. Something about the 'Hungarian twist'.