Thursday, December 28, 2006

Warner Bros. 2007 preview

The fine folks at have come through with a preview of what's coming next year from Warner Bros. At first glance, "Letters from Iwo Jima" and "300" stand out as the great ones, but there may be some pleasant surprises. Here goes:

"Letters from Iwo Jima" Jan. 12 (expansion): After the rather pedestrian ending that marred the otherwise satisfying "Flags of Our Fathers," I'm definitely ready to pick up the story again from the Japanese perspective as this hits wide-release world. I'm surprised that Ken Watanebe's performance as the commander hasn't been getting more notice in kudos season, and I can't wait to see it.

"The Good German" Jan 19 (expansion): Manohla Dargis eviscerated this latest work from Steven Soderbergh as all style and no substance, and even worse, an insult to the old studio pictures he was trying to emulate. I'll still give it a chance, but it does look awfully silly.

"Music and Lyrics" (Feb. 14): In this fairly standard Valentine's Day fare, Hugh Grant plays a washed-up '80s pop star who gets the chance to record a duet with one of the reigning teen divas. The catch, he has to write the song, so he, of course, turns to lyricist Drew Barrymore for help. Meh, meh and more meh.

"The Astronaut Farmer" (Feb. 23): Now this one actually sounds like a lot of fun. Billy Bob Thornton plays a disgraced astronaut who, after being dismissed from NASA, decides to build his own rocket at the family farm. I don't reckon you'll hear any Karl Childers jokes in this one, but one can always dream.

"300" (March 9): Count this as one of my top-shelf must-sees for 2007. Zack Snyder directs this flick based on Frank Miller's graphic novel about the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. It could just be a bloody mess, but i'm still confident it will be well worth watching.

"Lucky You" (March 16): You can't stop Drew Barrymore, you can only hope to contain her (and good luck with even that.) Here she's in a poker flick/romantic drama with Eric Bana set at the 2003 World Series of Poker. I just might give this a chance for only two reasons: Curtis Hanson is directing, and Robert Duvall is on hand as Bana's father and fellow poker player.

"TMNT" (March 23): Every time I see that dumbass acronym I'm just left scratching my head, but what it apparently means is the world is about to get some more Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles via CGI, and why not? Especially when it has Patrick Stewart, Ziyi Zhang, Buffy and even Kevin Smith on board. I guarantee this will be one of the year's truly great guilty pleasures.

The Reaping (March 30): Did we really make it this far without a horror movie/supernatural thriller? The plot summary for this one has me at least mildy intrigued: "Hilary Swank plays a former Christian missionary who lost her faith, and has since become an expert in disproving religious phenomena. But when she investigates a small Louisiana town that is suffering from what appear to be the Biblical plagues, she must regain her faith to combat the dark forces threatening the community." Remember, there's a fine line between pretty good and just plain awful.

"Spring Breakdown" (April 13): Oh, the horror. In this one, three 30-somethings (Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler and Parker Posey) get a second chance at being girls gone wild when they escort young Amber Tamblyn to Spring Break. I know you have the strength to just say no.

"Oceans 13" (June 8): Any upgrade from Julia Roberts to Ellen Barkin is OK in my book, but the trailer for this thoroughly unnecessary flick just made me yawn more than once. Can't Soderbergh just get on with that Che flick starring Benicio Del Toro already?

"Nancy Drew" (June 15): I also managed to see this trailer before "Night at the Museum," and it looks like fairly harmless fun for girls and women who haven't finished growing up completely yet. My only question is how in the world did "Dick" director Andrew Fleming end up writing and directing this?

"License to Wed" (July 4): Sound the trumpets: We have an official front-runner for worst flick of 2007. In this impending disaster, a young couple (John Krasinski and Mandy Moore) must go through a rigorous test before a charismatic preacher (Robin Williams, and no, I'm not kidding) will marry them. As Christine Taylor, who co-stars in this mess, once said, I think I just threw up in my own mouth.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (July 13): Not much to say about this. The kids get even older with new director Michael Goldenberg.

"No Reservations" (July 27): If I'm not mistaken, this is a remake of a German flick I liked quite a bit called "Mostly Martha." With Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart starring as rival chefs who, of course, fall in love, this could be that extremely rare breed: A smart romantic comedy for adults in the sweltering summer.

"The Invasion" (Aug. 17): In an August oddity, Nicole Kidman plays a Washington, D.C., psychiatrist who investigates a mysterious epidemic that alters the behavior of human beings. Sounds likes aliens to me, extraterrestrial rather than just illegal. Sheesh.

"One Missed Call" (Aug. 24): A supernatural thriller about cell phones or some such crap. I will not be seeing this.

"Michael Clayton" (Sept. 14): Because it's the law that George Clooney must be on the big screen at least three times a year, he appears here with Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson as a "fixer" attorney in some kind of legal drama. I'm not doing it justice, but with that cast, this could be good.

"The Brave One" (Sept. 28): Bear with me folks, only four more to go, and in this one you get Neil Jordan directing Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard (huzzah!). Foster plays a radio host who, after watching her fiance die in an attack that leaves her badly wounded, roams the streets of New York at night in search of her attackers.

"Trick'r Treat" (Oct. 5): An early dose of generic Halloween horror which somehow has Brian Cox as one of its main stars. Oh well. At least he's working, and hopefully getting well paid.

"Fred Claus" (Nov. 9): Even after sitting through "The Break-Up," I still like Vince Vaughn, and I love good Christmas comedies, so this looks like a natural. In it, he plays Santa's little-known brother, a repo man. With Paul Giamatti as St. Nick and Ludacris as an angry elf, I just say bring it on.

"I am Legend" (Dec. 14): Thankfully, this isn't the story of soul-sucking singer John Legend, but instead just a movie about soul-sucking zombies starring Will Smith.

And there, finally, you have it. A pretty good slate featuring, amazingly, only one animated flick. Anything there that peaks your interest? "300" is the big kahuna for me, but there are some other pretty good ones, along with plenty of dogs. Have a great day.


Anonymous said...

300, fer sure! Sin City was a bust, except for the aesthetic, but this one looks like it could be great. (Side note: I just started reading 'From Hell' and holy crap, that thing is dense! No wonder the Hugheses adaptation felt so hodge-podge!)
And since I'm talkin' comix, what do you think the chances are that TMNT will be more like the original b&w books w/ swearing and blood (instead of the watered-down, kid-friendly, pizza-eating, cowabunga-yellin')?
As for Mr. Fleming--he was also responsible for Bad Dreams, Threesome and The Craft. So he's uneven enough to tackle Nancy Drew.
Finally, no way in hell am I skipping Spring Breakdown. Dratch, Poehler, and Posey? He-he-hello! I'm so all over that. Throw in a cameo by Amber's dad, and you'll have to pry the tickets from my moist-yet-kung-fu grip.

Reel Fanatic said...

I liked Sin City quite a bit, Jeremy, once it got going after a very slow start ... I also read "From Hell," and have to agree with you that the Hughes Brothers probably did the best they could have with that sprawling work ... and I'm almost certain the turtles won't be as fun as they used to be, but one can always hope

Michelle said...

looking forward to harry potter and the order of the phoenix!

* (asterisk) said...

I'll be looking forward to The Fountain, which comes out in February in the UK, and David Lynch's Inland Empire, although God only knows when we'll get to see that over here...

I really liked Sin City, so 300 sounds cool.

No Reservations should be renamed No Remaked and wiped off the release slate.

And need I say anything about Ocean's 13 other than "Enough already"?

Reel Fanatic said...

You certainly need not say more, Mr. *, and I myself am very eager to see Inland Empire .. I suspect, however, that here in the states it has already had its theatrical run in two or three cities, and will now hopefully quickly be available to me on DVD

Anonymous said...

I Am Legend will be the third version of the Richard Matheson novel. Vincent Price starred in the first "The Last Man on Earth" and Charlton Heston in "The Omega Man." I hope they get it right this time but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

i'm excited for "music and lyrics". and i make no apologies for my unnatural attraction to hugh grant and his philandering ways.

Reel Fanatic said...

No apologies necessary, Millie ... I like Hugh Grant enough when he's genuinely and snarkily funny, but I just can't see that happening with this one

Anonymous said...

The new Harry Potter is written by Michael Goldenberg and directed by David Yates.

Thought I'd point it out before the 15-year-old readers complain.

Reel Fanatic said...

Ah .. my bad, Neel .... thanks for the correx .. I tend to write these things rather early in the morning, and I'm clearly not always completely awake when I do!

Anonymous said...

Y'know, as cheesy as the plot of Spring Breakdown sounds, that group of actresses is precisely suited for that kind of dumb comedy. I admit to being intrigued.

Anonymous said...

I've developed a liking (some would call it a compulsion) for watching Pro Poker. "Lucky You" may see my money.
I'm also an admitted Potter-phile. However, I await "HP and the OotP" with cautious anticipation since it was my least favourite book of the series.
Vince Vaughn won me over in "Wedding Crashers" so I'll definitely give "Fred Claus" a look as well. Especially with Giamatti ho-ho-ho-ing in the background.
Cheers! and Happy New Year!

Reel Fanatic said...

I've slowly come around to enjoying watching pro poker on TV myself, divinity, which is especially surprising because I've been nothing but an awful poker player in reality ... Since that's a Hanson pic, I think I'll definitely give it a chance

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your musings on the films! Do post more reviews on (non-English) arthouse films, if possible! They're often fab.!

Anonymous said...

I figure that I'd be a terrible poker player. I'd require that everyone else show me their cards and the dealer give me pre-flop stats. :) So not kidding!

james higham said...

"Oceans 13" Is it necessary, as you ask? Is the series in danger of becoming 'Police Academy'?

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to say Mr. Higham, I do think it is right on the brink, and may indeed get there with this next installment

Anonymous said...

Being a huge fan of Frank Miller abd of historical pieces anyhow, I am really looking forward to 300. I am also looking forward to I Am Legend. I liked the first two adaptations (The Last Man on Earth and Omega Man), so I should like this one provided they get it right.

Pdemko said...

Ocean's 12 was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Painfully self-indulgent crap. I might picket Ocean's 13.

Joel said...

Good read!!will bookmark this ;)

Ryland Walker Knight said...

The Polish Brothers movie is the one I'm itching to see.