Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Movie Sneaks 2007

Every January the LA TIMES Calendar section has their movie preview for the year, listing all the films scheduled to be released. After grumbling for five minutes that one of them is not mine I begin to look for trends. Here’s what you can expect at your local Cineplex in 2007.

Forget sequels. This is the year of “3”. SPIDERMAN 3, SHREK 3, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3, RUSH HOUR 3 (why?), OCEANS 13 (which is really 3), and DIE HARD 3 (which is really 4 but the producers would like you to forget the last one). They’ll follow in a great tradition of GODFATHER 3, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3, and POLICE ACADEMY 3.

And then there’s the sequel of all sequels – THE SIMPSONS 438.

Graphic novels and comic books are in again. This year the FANTASTIC FOUR battle the Silver Surfer and Little Lulu. Also big are cross-country races, spoofs, families in distress, spoofs of families in distress, costume dramas, the Civil War, and Rwanda,

They’ll be plenty of animation which I’m sure will shake down this way – one great Pixar movie, Homer & co., Shrek, three Pixar imitators, and four costly bombs. They’ll all be voiced by major celebrities, adding nothing really but just taking away precious jobs from the voice over people who really need the money. Brad Pitt voicing a cartoon. What a coup!

And of course there’ll be no shortage of high school movies. Turds in punchbowls, Ben-Gay in jock straps – all your hilarious favorites will be there.

BEOWULF is finally coming to the screen! How good is studio research when they decide to greenlight the one book that every student since the beginning of time has loathed?

My pick for the worst movie this year: THE TRANSFORMERS directed by Michael Bay. He can’t even get decent performances out of robots.

Every year there’s an astronaut wannabe who builds a rocket in his backyard. But this year it’s different. He DOESN’T blow up the barn first.

FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL was a comedy smash so this year there are seven wedding and four funeral movies. Also, spring break yuckfests, high concept romantic comedies, slacker idiots, and so that my age group isn’t left out – triangles involving lesbians.

Will Ferrell trades in NASCAR for competitive ice skating. He’s two years away from professional thumb wrestling.

We’ve got a couple of deathbed movies, people flashing back over their lives and careers. Kids learn their mom used to be Hitler’s girlfriend, that sort of thing.

Amy Poehler is in EVERY new comedy this year.

Parker Posey is in every drama.

And Jodie Foster is taking it easy this year. She’s only being stalked in one thriller.

No Oliver Stone movie so it’s safe to go to the theater this summer.

Steve Carell is the new Ben Stiller (and I couldn’t be happier).

Eddie Murphy wonders why he’s never taken seriously as an actor, then undoes all the goodwill he earned with DREAMGIRLS by doing NORBIT, where he plays four disgusting cartoon roles.

This year’s ELF is a princess in New York. Gee, I wonder if she’ll look out of place on the subway???

Jim Carrey tries to make us believe again that he’s a real actor with THE NUMBER 23. It’s a thriller not the number of attempts he’s made to be taken seriously.

Broadway will come to Hollywood. HAIRSPRAY (the movie based on the musical based on the movie) stars John Travolta in drag (looking for his first Oscar nomination as best supporting actress), and SWEENEY TODD with Tim Burton at the helm so you know it’ll be weird, interesting, and star Helena Bonam Carter (who may or may not be able to sing but so what? She’s the director’s wife.)

HARRY POTTER will be back, battling his greatest foe – puberty.

All in all, a typical year. Big stars, familiar genres, interesting sounding loglines, and by October we’ll be seeing trailers for SHREK 4, SPIDERMAN 4, and oh how I wish – GHANDI 2.


Anonymous said...

Gandhi 2? Believe it!

Anonymous said...

I once had an employee at a movie theater think SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE was a seguel. I also played a Disney double feature at a drive-in of SLEEPING BEAUTY and THE BLACK HOLE which could easily have been a porn double feature. But easily my favorite favorite drive-in memory was playing THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW to 28 cars. Thanks for the great posts Ken.

Anonymous said...

I must be the only person who liked Die Hard 3...

(Why you keep calling me Jesús, I look Puerto Rican to you?)

Anonymous said...

"BEOWULF is finally coming to the screen!"

It already did. See The 13th Warrior.

Anonymous said...

"I once had an employee at a movie theater think SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE was a seguel."

Ah. And now you know why the studio execs insisted that when the play The Madness of King George III was adapted into a movie the Roman numeral had to be dropped.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I knew there was another joke to inflict...

Will someone please tell me why the sequence of titles isn't Die Hard, Die Harder, and Die Hardy-Har-Har?

Willy B. Good said...

Oh boy I can't wait I haven't seen a good lesbian triangle movie in years

Anonymous said...

"HAIRSPRAY (the movie based on the musical based on the movie) stars John Travolta in drag (looking for his first Oscar nomination as best supporting actress)"

I wonnder if he supplied his own wardrobe?

Anonymous said...

Can we look forward to Catch 23?

doggans said...

"Ghandi II" was the best sketch from "UHF", narrowly beating the "Spatula City" commercial.

Anyway. Only movie I'm really thrilled about is Spidey 3. Zemeckis' Beowulf is kinda exciting, just because Zemeckis and Crispin Glover will be working together for the first time since part one of "Back to the Future".

Austriana said...

My son is looking forward to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Spiderman (which I'll make sure I see before I let him see it...)

I'm actually looking forward to Bridge to Terabithia...I remember reading it as a kid.

Missy Vixen said...

They’ll all be voiced by major celebrities, adding nothing really but just taking away precious jobs from the voice over people who really need the money.

As a huge fan of animation (a nicer way of saying cartoon-geek), this has become a source of outrage for me. I think the non-celebs do a much better job as well. I don't think anyone has ever sought out an animated movie based on who was doing the voice-over. Please make them stop!

Anonymous said...

Re: sequels

One of my favorite puns...
House 2, The Second Story

Anonymous said...

Sorry, another thought popped in my head about sequels...My kids are into the Final Fantasy series, but I keep asking them, how can it be "final"?
Final Fantasy 12-This time we're serious! Final Fantasy 13- No, really, this time we really mean it. Final Fantasy 14-You know how last time we meant it. This time it's final-er.

VP81955 said...

They’ll all be voiced by major celebrities, adding nothing really but just taking away precious jobs from the voice over people who really need the money.

In a just, (parallel) universe, Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche and others get the live-action parts that go to Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, etc.

R.A. Porter said...

Beowulf also has the advantage of a Neil Gaiman screenplay. With Zemeckis directing, I expect a lot from this movie. Of course as a geek, I'm anticipating Stardust even more.

Anonymous said...

They’ll all be voiced by major celebrities, adding nothing really but just taking away precious jobs from the voice over people who really need the money. Brad Pitt voicing a cartoon. What a coup!

I don't think this is anything really new. I remember watching Disney's The Jungle Book (1967) and trying to put names to all those voices that were so familiar. Phil Harris...Sebastian Cabot.... George Sanders....Louis Prima doing King Louie was delightful.

Bagheera and Shere Khan are the names of two of my cats in Warcraft.:)

I haven't been a big fan of Disney for a long time but The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast are my all time favorites. The latter, I'm sure because of Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Potts.


Anonymous said...

Mmmmm, triangles involving lesbians...D-Double-icious!

Man, when you put it all up there like that it just looks like a bubbling vat of dookie, doesn't it?

By the way, I've done a tiny bit of voice work in the past, and I can tell you - don't feel that sorry for the voiceover guys (and gals).

There's a top tier of voice over masters who take over 70% of the work. (As brilliant as they are... and this is no slight on their fine talent) I'm tired of voice hogs like Billy West, Frank Welker, Jim Cummings and Maurice La Marche getting all the stinkin work. Those guys, and a handful of others, are ubiquitous in the animation and commercial industry. And unless they're doing their work for free, or a wild nose-candy habit, they've got to have a room full of money somewhere.

The way these guys dominate, along with a few others like Kath Soucie, Tress MacNeille and Bill Callaway, (and how the late Don Messick used to)is nothing short of staggering.

Staggering, but also tired, old and hackneyed. Hearing bigger name actors step in for some of these voices is refreshing. Can we really be that impressed by another cute Frank Welker voice? Not me, slimer!

I think actors like Tony Shaloub Jason Lee and Alec Baldwin actually make the voiceovers BETTER. They are just as talented and deserve to be cast.

If you really want to open up some work for unemployed voice talent, put Welker and LaMarche on a slow bus to Tierra Del Fuego.

And isn't it obvious that Beowulf is a desperate attempt to revive some LOTR magic?

Anonymous said...

Aaah, nuts to yez Beowulf hataz. There's nothing wrong with Beowulf, unless your teacher forces you to recite it in the original Old English--and then criticizes your pronunciation. Besides, if we didn't have Beowulf, we wouldn't have this gem of a sequel.

Anonymous said...

Ironically I just watched Beowulf and Grendel last night, it is from Iceland, made in 2005 I think, with Stellen Skarsgard as Hrothar.

All in all it wasn't bad.

Howard Hoffman said...

THANK YOU for championing professional voice actors over superstars in animation. THANK YOU.

So many have busted their asses for years - even decades - only to have doors slammed in their faces by starstruck studios.

Reel Fanatic said...

Steve Carrell is indeed the new Ben Stiller .. only much funnier! .. I think the movie I'm most looking forward to in 2007 would have to be Ratatouille, because Brad Bird has already directed my favorite animated movie with "Iron Giant"

Anonymous said...

Oh, God, BEOWULF. I'll bet even the Geats were wishing they were someplace else when they first listened to it.

Anonymous said...

I gotta side with reel fanatic..Ben Stiller is the poor man's Steve Carrell

Stephen Gallagher said...

Michael Bay is a very good second-unit director.


Anonymous said...

"I don't think anyone has ever sought out an animated movie based on who was doing the voice-over."

"Finding Nemo" is a great movie, well worth seeing no matter who did the voices, but even if it had been abysmal, I'd have seen it simply because Barry Humphries voiced Bruce the Shark, as I would see anything with Barry in it. I look forward to seeing the audio-animatronic Barry Humphries in the Finding Nemo Submarine Ride opening at Disneyland this summer.

And certainly Robin Williams sold a lot of tickets to "Alladin", back before we were all sick to death of him.

When stars mix with the regular voice-over actors, we get fun moments like seeing my old friend, VO specialist Rodger Bumpass, billed ABOVE Alec Baldwin in the Spongebob Squarepants feature.

When my good friend Daws Butler died, it took over 30 different actors to replace all his voices.

If the Beowulf film is indeed written by Neil Gaiman, it will not only be worth seeing, but it will be better than the book.

Anonymous said...

Very funny, as usual, but I need to do the little internet rant thing real quick:

1. Transformers looks awesome. Making fun of Michael Bay is sooo 2001. The man is one of the best action movie directors out there, and this is a movie about giant robots destroying each other. He's perfect for it.

2. I actually enjoy Jim Carrey as a serious actor (Eternal Sunshine), but I really wish he'd do Ace Ventura 3 or something. Just for kicks.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and with regard to Final Fantasy, the name comes from series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. Squaresoft wasn't doing very well back in the NES days, and Sakaguchi was preparing to leave the company. He was going to make one more game before leaving, his "Final Fantasy", and he made the game. To everyone's suprise, the game was a hit and the name had already stuck. So he kept making them. Each one with a new story and new set of characters, but with a few common elements tying them together.

Hawise said...

I have nothing against big name actors doing voice-over work IF they have interesting voices. Yet, let us get real, who knows anyone who goes to a Brad Pitt movie because of his 'interesting vocal characterizations"? Anybody? (sounds of crickets chirping) Didn't think so.

And let us not badmouth Beowulf, there are definitely some movie worthy scenes to be found. I personally want to see the running on ship oars in a loincloth scene, and the emerging dripping in a tunic from the swamp scene. I would also like to see a new take on a dragon but I'm guessing that may not happen.

Anonymous said...

jim carrey getting grittier than ever is my pick on this list. can't wait to see what he's doing. i saw some early beowulf stuff - was laying around a friend's workplace. not sure..seems like it could be really cool...none of the voice stuff was in any of it yet. as for voice-overs...names put butts in seats, whether it's just their voice or their face.

Cap'n Bob said...

Travolta in drag? Are they putting a camera in his house? He's been wearing women's clothing since he was a kid.
And if THE THETANS comes out in 2007 I promise it will be the worst movie since BATTLEFIELD EARTH.