December 2007 Forecast
By David Mumpower
December 8, 2007
5) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
If I lived to be a thousand years old (Come on, modern medical science! Hook a brother up!), I still would not ever grow to understand the appeal of this. Jersey Girl features this musical as a sub-plot, and I had to ask my wife why Kevin Smith would do such a thing. Knowing as little as I possibly can about the story (and believe that I have tried to shield myself for most details), this looks like Little Shop of Horrors with scissors. I love Johnny Depp so, so much yet I could not possibly have less interest in this project. His and Tim Burton's names on the billboard combined with some Oscar buzz should make it the second musical hit of the year after Hairspray (High School Musical 2 wasn't released in theaters, so all you 13-year-old girls can save your spiteful emails).
6) The Great Debaters
Feel good films do so much better in December, which is good news for Denzel Washington's latest project. Of course, the better news is that Washington is in it. While not quite the box office draw that Tom Hanks and Will Smith are, Washington is among the most consistent performers in the industry. This tale of African-American pride is a bit like another wonderful movie Washington did, Remember the Titans, except that The Great Debaters celebrates more intellectual pursuits. The trailer for this is a charming celebration of triumph over adversity and prejudice. This project looks to be a nice sized sleeper hit that can also make a claim as one of the best quality pictures on the December release schedule.
7) Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
How exactly does one walk hard? Is it something you do with the balls of your feet? Or the heels? Or both? Can you walk hard in a sandal or do you need a good steel-toed boot to pull off this effect? I don't expect the movie to answer any of these questions. I do, however, expect John C. Reilly's first attempt as a lead actor to continue producer Judd Apatow's hot streak that reached a crescendo with summer releases Knocked Up and Superbad. I have to be honest that I think that the commercials are pretty lousy, save for one funny mention of Patrick Duffy. I don't think it matters, though. The Apatow stamp of approval is starting to mean something in the industry.
8) Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
This got a sequel? Seriously? Is Gabrielle Union back? No? Then screw this dreck. I hope a terminator shows up and whips both their asses...assuming aliens and predators have asses.
9) Alvin and the Chipmunks
10) The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
I lump these two titles in together because they are intended to have the same appeal. While Alvin and the Chipmunks looks preposterously bad, name recognition alone should secure a more successful run than The Waterhorse. This is unfortunate, because the story of a boy who befriends The Loch Ness Monster is so much more imaginative. It is a shame that creativity cannot overcome brand loyalty stemming from rampant commercialization, but I guess that's a fitting enough way to end a discussion of a December topic. Now go buy stuff at the store. Otherwise, Wal-Mart won't let Jesus celebrate his birthday.