As Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow and delivers us six more weeks of wintry weather, the Hollywood studios are preparing a set of Valentines for denizens of movie theaters everywhere. No one can say they're not loving and caring.
February 2005 Forecast
Happy Valentine's Day!
By Kim Hollis
February 3, 2005
To Homer Simpson, who notes that there "may be a boogeyman or boogeymen in the house": Boogeyman
Every time I see this commercial, I mistakenly think that the star of the film is the pretty boy who hangs out with the bald man on Lost. It's actually the kid from 7th Heaven, though. My great fear is that this attempt at tame PG-13 horror will simply be a reprise of 2002's Darkness Falls, but the fact that Sam Raimi's name is attached as producer gives me some slight hope.
I should note here that I would recommend reading Stephen King's short story Boogeyman from his Night Shift collection. It's one of his best.
To Will Truman, who would probably have gladly agreed to be Grace's fake date for her sister's nuptial vows: The Wedding Date
This Debra Messing/Dermot Mulroney film looks like simple harmless fluff and should provide pleasant counter-programming for those football widows who can't understand why there's so much hype about the Super Bowl. The studio isn't rolling it out into many theaters, which probably indicates some lack of confidence. That's probably justified, given the lack of "big stars," but the film should be able to hold its own since early previews are showing that it tickles the target demographic.
To people who have always loved Monday-night television: Hitch
Remember when Will Smith was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? The mega-star lends his talents to this rom-com as he attempts to teach King of Queens Kevin James how to properly behave around women. The previews and commercials have shown James both attempting to dance and leaning in for a kiss with our hero. Audiences are left laughing, which bodes well for the movie's prospects, but the concern would definitely be that all the good bits have been shown already.
To the Slesinger family, which owns the U.S. marketing rights to Winnie-the-Pooh but lost its long-running royalties dispute with Disney: Pooh's Heffalump Movie
The Walt Disney Co. once again returns to mine the Hundred Acre Wood for cash from youngsters who just love them some Winnie-the-Pooh. Now that we've seen Tigger regain his bounce and Piglet find some courage, it's time to meet that most terrifying of creatures who dwell in A.A. Milne's world - the Heffalump. Next up? The Woozle Movie, bound to be a wildly anticipated sequel for this horror franchise.
To Joe Camp, who remembers a time when his Benji movies were the standard for cute mutt stories: Because of Winn-Dixie
Because of Winn-Dixie, which tells the story of a young girl and her escapades with an adorable, scampy dog, looks to repeat the mild success of My Dog Skip, a marvelous movie that was mostly overlooked a couple of years ago. It's the perfect time of year to put a charming family film in theaters, and this puppy will almost certainly have kids clamoring to own a Picardy Shepherd. Unfortunately for parents, the breed is extremely rare and primarily bred in France, so it's not going to be an easy task to spoil little Veruca in this case.
To graphic novel writer Alan Moore, who refuses to accept money for any movies made based on books of his creation: Constantine
It's true. After From Hell was changed to a rote whodunit and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen became one of the great travesties of recent film, graphic novel writer Alan Moore stated that going forward, any proceeds from films that were made from his books should go only to the artists who were involved in their creation rather than him. As the creator of Hellblazer, the book on which Constantine is based, Moore has been said to be at odds with the direction the movie took, though there's not really any evidence to show that to be the truth. Nonetheless, fans of the Hellblazer series have made a number of noteworthy protests about the look/style/subject matter of Constantine, which doesn't bode well for the early fan-boy rush.
To Bridget Jones, who ain't got nothin' on this lady: Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Based on a play by Tyler Perry, this film is poised to be a breakout along the lines of 2004's Woman, Thou Art Loosed. The movies share the same star, Kimberly Elise, who also gave a fine performance in last year's Manchurian Candidate, if you missed it. It's definitely looking at a very specific target demographic, who will absolutely turn out in force to show their support for this and continuing efforts in this genre.
To Tommy Lee Jones, who is wishing about now that he was in another movie with Will Smith: Man of the House
There's been very limited promotion so far for this comedy, which stars Jones as a Texas Ranger assigned to protect a group of cheerleaders who have been witnesses to a murder. The film appears to have little to recommend it, and will likely fade away as one of those "very bad ideas". The catch here is that Jones has an odd fan base that follows him from movie to movie regardless of its apparent quality, so the possibility does exist that Man of the House could break out.
To the progeny of Eric Stoltz: Son of the Mask
From the kind of people who brought you Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd and SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 comes this ill-advised sequel to a movie that became a surprise hit. From the very moment the teaser for Son of the Mask hit theaters, it was painfully obvious that not only did the studio have no idea what to do with this movie, they were wishing that they could just, you know, wish it out of existence. Smart family types will take their children to the wholesome goodness of Walden Media's Because of Winn-Dixie instead. I hope.
To Paul Giamatti : Cursed
Poor Pig Vomit. For the past two years, he's gotten raving critical attention for his performances in both American Splendor and Sideways, yet the Academy just hasn't seen fit to give him a nomination. Giamatti doesn't have a damned thing to do with Wes Craven's Cursed; I just wanted to take the opportunity to rail against a bit of injustice.
With regards to Cursed, Wes Craven's werewolf movie, there has been a lot of bad buzz in advance of the film's release. The really big danger sign may be the fact that it was pushed for a PG-13 rating, where Craven has never been known to shy away from the R in the past. Horror fans who are a little tired of these sanitized films aimed at a wider audience might just cry, "Enough, already!"
Marty Doskins's February 2005 Preview
Dan Krovich's Preview of February 2005 Indie Releases