April 2005 Forecast
By John Seal
1. XXX2: State of the Union
What, no Vin Diesel? This sequel of sorts to 2002’s Vin vehicle now comes fully equipped with Ice Cube, former Bond director Lee Tamahori, and reclining bucket seats upholstered in rich Corinthian leather. The cast also includes an extra added bonus rap star, Xzibit, as well as familiar faces Samuel L. Jackson and Willem Dafoe. Considering the first film pumped a cool $140 million into Sony’s coffers, the follow up feature should perform similar feats, going from zero to sixty in the space of two weekends.
2. Sin City
The good: the trailer looks great, and Once Upon A Time In Mexico notwithstanding, Robert Rodriguez generally delivers a quality product. Bad: the cast includes a few too many box-office lightweights—Josh Hartnett still hasn’t delivered the goods, and does anyone under 30 remember Mickey Rourke? The ugly: ‘with guest director Quentin Tarantino’. If there’s one thing guaranteed to turn me off a movie, it’s the presence—in front of or behind the camera—of QT. (His appearance in Rodriguez’ From Dusk Til Dawn is the exception, because the script had the good sense to kill him off early in the proceedings.) The R rating is going to hurt this one, but I suspect Sin City will open quite well.
The unpredictable up and down box office career of Matthew McConnaughy looks to continue with this big budget Clive Cussler adaptation. Long in gestation, Sahara finally arrives on the big screen, and—speaking as one of the few patrons who actually enjoyed McConnaughy’s previous action entry, Reign of Fire—looks like it might be a pretty good popcorn movie. On the debit side of the ledger, the film was directed by Breck ‘My Daddy Had Nothing to Do With Me Getting This Job’ Eisner, and the poster looks like rejected artwork from Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze. A decent box office draw, but it’s not quite summer yet—so temper the expectations.
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
I found the television series of the same name only moderately diverting, but its large following ensures this feature film modest if not spectacular box office returns. The cast, which includes Galaxy Quest’s Sam Rockwell, Zooey Deschanel, Bill Nighy, Warwick Davis, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, John Malkovich, and Mos Def, acknowledges the quirky appeal of the original series, but I imagine Disney will have pumped up the special effects a wee bit. Not one I’m particularly looking forward to, but good reviews could compel me to thumb a ride to the nearest terrestrial multiplex.
5. The Interpreter
Is it too early to start handicapping this year’s Oscar race? The Interpreter looks like the first reasonable contender for the 2006 Academy Awards, with director Sydney Pollack, screenwriter Steven Zaillian and thespians Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman all former nominees and/or winners. Kidman plays the title character, a diplomat who learns of an assassination plot and has FBI agent Penn assigned to protect her. Penn (*spoiler alert*) turns down the assignment in favor of guarding Jude Law. With a score provided by the accomplished James Newton Howard, this looks to be the first quality offering from Hollywood this year.
6. A Lot Like Love
This month’s romantic comedy-by-numbers features Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet in a tale of unrequited love in the twentysomething set. Actually sounds A Lot Like Every Other Rom Com to me. Ho hum.
7. Fever Pitch
The original film version of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch was a marvelous paean to the long suffering hardcore fans of North London soccer team Arsenal, whose team responded recently by reeling off a string of 49 consecutive victories on the football pitch. In another example of life imitating art, the ‘cursed’ Boston Red Sox won the 2004 World Series as this American remake was in production, with that very same team standing in for the less than down at heel Gunners. With Jimmy Fallon taking the place of Colin Firth and the Farrelly Brothers behind the camera, this seems likely to jettison the earlier film’s bittersweet meditations on family and community in favor of bad bleacher bum behavior. I won’t get within 60 feet six inches of it.
8. The Amityville Horror
The original Amityville Horror sucked. Amityville II: The Possession was dreadful. Amityville 3-D was a farce, and Amityville IV: The Evil Escapes…well, to be honest, I never saw that one, but I suspect you know where I’m going with this. The new version of Amityville Horror features former teen heartthrob Ryan Reynolds, some kid called Jesse James (arrest those parents!), and poor old Philip Baker Hall, presumably filling in for Burt Young. And look! Michael Bay produced it! The Amityville Horror will scare up some quick bucks and then rapidly disappear from theatres.
9. King’s Ransom
Did anyone see this coming? One minute, life is going on as it normally does…next minute, Anthony Anderson is a bona fide Movie Star. He doesn’t have any kangaroos to contend with in his latest effort, which features the portly actor as a greedy businessman who sets up his own kidnapping in an effort to keep his riches from his gold-digging wife. It’s the first big screen effort from Wayne Conley, previously given gainful employment on Nickelodeon’s Kenan and Kel. Oh goody.
Whether or not this gets a wide release, it sure ain’t gonna earn big bucks. An anthology collecting three short films about love and sex by Steven Soderbergh, Wong Kar-Wai, and nonagenarian director Michaelangelo Antonioni, Eros features Gong Li and Alan Arkin amongst its international cast. With DoP Christopher Doyle lensing Wong’s segment, however, the film is bound to look spectacular.
I love public transit, so I’m ready to queue up for this film about ticket inspectors on the Budapest subway system. Understandably, American born director Nimrod Antal has lived and worked in Hungary for the last decade.
Kung Fu Hustle
If justice walked the Earth, Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle would be a big hit. As it is, an R rating is going to hamstring Sony’s ability to market this film, which has broken box-office records throughout Asia. Take a trip to your local ‘art-house’ to see what all the fuss is about, and corrupt your children while you’re at it.
This one’s been sitting on the shelf since 2001. It’s a hydroplaning drama starring erstwhile Christ James Cavaziel. When he’s not walking on water, he glides.
Oh, that wacky Todd Solondz. If making a film about a sympathetic paedophile wasn’t enough, Solondz’ new film features a twelve year old girl who will go to any lengths to get pregnant. Not likely to feature on the Pope’s year-end ‘Best Of 2005’ list.
Walk On Water
Did you hear the one about the homophobic MOSSAD agent and the gay grandson of a Nazi war criminal? This Israeli suspense film features two such characters. What will their children look like?
Marty Doskins's April Forecast
Kim Hollis's April Forecast
David Mumpower's April Forecast