It actually snowed in Malibu last week. Malibu. California. And, being an East Coast native, I know that it’s much colder on that side of the country. Needless to say, I am ready for winter to end. And what better way to anticipate and celebrate such a great occasion than to plan a movie outing? Below is a selection of films that are scheduled to come out before March 20th, the first day of spring.
Films I’m Excited About Category:
In Seraphim Falls (Jan. 26), a former Confederate Army colonel (Liam Neeson) and his gang relentlessly pursue a wanted man (Pierce Brosnan) and have a final face-off in the New Mexican desert. I would watch Pierce Brosnan read the phone book, but he has been making great film choices lately. He was fabulous in The Matador, and the idea of two of my favorite actors (and Angelica Huston, who’s amazing) making an old-fashioned western is just too perfect to resist.
I saw the trailer for Breach (Feb. 16), and it looked great. Movies about the intelligence community are either, well, intelligent, or awful. This looks like it may be the former. FBI newbie Eric (Ryan Phillippe) finds himself working for Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper). He finds out that his boss may be responsible for the greatest security breach in US history and has to prove this without Hanssen finding out. This was inspired by a true story and also features Laura Linney, who is pretty consistent.
Based on the Robert Graysmith books, Zodiac (Mar. 2) follows Zodiac, a serial killer who terrorized San Francisco with a string of seemingly random murders during the 1960s and 1970s. Jake Gyllenhaal (who needs repeat the caliber of his performance in Brokeback Mountain sometime soon), Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey, Jr. star. Films about serial killers are always interesting, so we’ll see if this reaches its potential.
Will Either Be Great or Just Plain Awful Category:
Smokin’ Aces (Jan. 26) is quite the star-studded film, featuring the likes of Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, Jason Batemen, Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta and Jeremy Piven. Snitch Buddy Israel (Piven) is set to testify against the mob, and a motley crew of characters set out to make sure he ends up dead. Cool cast, looks stylish, could be a violent Ocean’s 11.
I had the opportunity to read the script for The Number 23 (Feb. 23, cute) and found it intriguing. Can Jim Carrey excel outside of his preferred comedy métier? An average Joe finds a book by chance that seems to be based on his life. It ends with a murder that has yet to happen in real life, and the catch is that the author (and later Carrey) realize that everything is connected to the number 23. It was a creepy script, hopefully it will translate well to film.
The Not a Chance Category:
I loved Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30. The guilty pleasure movie was cute and silly and she was almost reminiscent of Meg Ryan in the early 1990s. But there is just no way Catch & Release (Jan. 26) can be a hit. This is screenwriter Susannah Grant’s directorial debut. She wrote Erin Brockovich, which did supremely well, and so liked her script that she decided to direct. In my mind, Garner is in the middle of a slump, and this is not the movie to revive it. The story follows Gray (Garner), who has to come to terms with the death of her fiancé and all of his secrets. His friends help her out, and she finds herself falling for the least likely guy in the trio. Clichés up the wazoo, but I do want it to be good. I want to do an “I believe in a thing called love” dance after seeing it. Maybe it would have more of a chance if it was opening on Valentine’s Day. We’ll see.
As Nicolas Cage was my first bona fide star sighting since moving to Los Angeles, I have a special little place in my heart for him. However, I don’t think even my allegiance to Mr. Cage will get me in the theaters to see Ghost Rider (Feb.16). Maybe it’s because I have never been a huge comic book fan, but the plot doesn’t exactly intrigue me. According to imdb.com, “stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze gives up his soul to become a hellblazing vigilante, [and] to fight against power hungry Blackheart, the son of the devil himself.” Peter Fonda co-stars, but even the original Easy Rider won’t get me in to see this one.
The “Not another one!” Category:
Can they just not let The Silence of the Lambs series die? The first was great, Hannibal was awful, Red Dragon was good, but another one? Hannibal Rising (Feb. 9) shows Lector as a child in war-torn Lithuania and his descent into serial (cannibal) killer status. I am curious to see how they manage to bundle this one up, as they don’t even have Anthony Hopkins to save them.
Norbit comes out on Feb. 9 as well. Why do they keep paying Eddie Murphy to make movies like this? Basically the plot is this: a mild-mannered guy (Murphy) is engaged to a fat woman (Murphy), meets the woman of his dreams (Thandie Newton), and schemes to be with her instead. So yet again, we have Eddie Murphy in a “fat suit,” catering to the 12-year-old boy crowd. He just got nominated for a Golden Globe and then we have this?
Epic Movie (Jan. 26) also continues in a series (Date Movie, Scary Movie, etc). Four orphans join forces with a pirate, wizard students and other cliché characters in a quest to destroy the evil queen of Gnarnia.
Hopefully these will tide you over until spring and the big summer blockbusters (Spiderman 3, Die Hard 4). Thaw out and enjoy.