Never Give a Sucker A Even Break: Probably better than anything that'll be released during the summer of 2005
Part 2: Coming Attractions
So, what, then, about what’s coming up? Since it’s clear to me there is virtually no chance that I’ll get to see more than a quarter of the movies on the following lists before year’s end, and that I might be able to catch up to some of them only after they’ve arrived on DVD, I’ve allowed myself a little more indulgence of my preconceived notions than I normally would if I felt I might actually see most or all of the titles in a reasonable period of time. I’ve categorized most of the upcoming summer releases in four slots: MUST SEE, which ought to be fairly self-explanatory; OF INTEREST, which simply means I’d love to see it, but given my newly realistic assessment of how much time I have to devote to seeing films, other titles will likely—though perhaps not absolutely—come first; IN MY QUEUE, meaning that I’ve already pretty much decided that Netflix is going to have to be my avenue for accessing the films in this category; and perhaps the most devilishly fun category to assemble, I DON’T CARE!, in which I allow myself to publicly admit to my absolute disinterest, and sometimes deliberate avoidance, of certain high-profile titles being let loose on the unsuspecting public this summer. Of course, I reserve the right to keep an open mind about any or all the movies in this particular category, because, as any regular filmgoer knows, great movies often sneak up on you when and where you least expect them. I sincerely hope that my worst prejudices will be trumped with high art and/or terrific entertainment by several of the movies in this final section. To the callous and insight-free categorizations, then!
BATMAN BEGINS I know, I know… bring on the live chickens, circus geek. (June 15)
A LEAGUE OF ORDINARY GENTLEMEN Documentary about one of my favorite things when I was growing up, the Pro Bowlers Tour… What’s holding up those chickens? (Now Playing)
SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL (The Journey of Romeo Daillaire) Documentary revolving around the UN general, haunted by his inability to prevent the Rwandan genocide, who remains tied to the country of the people he couldn’t help save. (Now Playing)
HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE Alison Veneto talks about the latest from master animator Hayao Miyazaki, as well as High Tension and Night Watch, two other movies found on this massive list, in her International Intrigue column on MoviePoopShoot.com.
WAR OF THE WORLDS I never liked Tom Cruise much, and now that he’s the poster boy for the Let GNC Get You Past Your Post-partum Depression campaign, I have even less respect for him. That said, this movie looks like fun, though being late-period Spielberg I’m not expecting a flawless ride. And to be quite honest, as soon as I heard that the first trailer for Peter Jackson’s King Kong would be attached to this movie, I knew I'd go see Spielberg's contraption. I know, I know… get to biting off those chicken heads! I will, I will! (June 29)
ROCK SCHOOL The trailer for this real-life Jack Black and his School of Rock sold me. You can see it here. (Now Playing)
DEEP BLUE Another gorgeous nature doc from the creators of the BBC series Blue Planet. That kind of imagery on the big screen sounds impossible to resist (Now Playing)
LAND OF THE DEAD I realize this is, in some circles, a heretical comment, but last year’s remake of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead far outstripped that overrated original work, and the remake, not the two sequels in Romero’s own trilogy, seems to be not only the template for this new chapter (from what I can gauge from the trailer, anyway), but the real standard to which the new movie must live up to. (The original Night of the Living Dead has already proven its unassailable stature in the canon of great horror films by withstanding its own crappy remake as well as nearly 40 years of rip-offs and wanna-bes—it’s still one of the most terrifying of all.) I can’t wait to see how this new chapter stacks up.
ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE I KNOW Entertainment Weekly’s brief synopsis—“Writer/director Miranda July captures the idiosyncrasies of a dysfunctional family in this offbeat dramedy”—makes this sound like every Sundance award-winner you ever wanted to avoid. But advance word from trustworthy sources has been very enthusiastic about this one. (June 24)
THE ISLAND My intense love for the oeuvre of Michael Bay might make the inclusion of this film on my “Must See” category seem a little odd. But I don’t know, Ewan and Scarlet just look so damned sexy with all those vehicles exploding around them and such… (July)
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY I base my interest not on the arch trailer so much as my faith that the Depp/Burton combination, along with an alleged faithfulness to the spirit, if not the letter, of Roald Dahl’s story, might cough up something interesting here. But to those who dismiss the original as being treacly sweet and a betrayal of Dahl’s sensibility, I urge another look. That Gene Wilder musical is a fairly nasty creation in its own right. (July 15)
THE ARISTOCRATS Documentary account of the telling, by a hundred different comedians, of the same filthy joke, is reportedly fall-down hilarious, as well as an vivid portrait of the art of improvisation. (August 5)
THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN Self-explanatory comedy starring Steve Carell (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), written and directed by Judd Apatow (Freaks and Geeks). Good enough for me. (August 19)
GRIZZLY MAN Werner Herzog delivers a documentary, as only he can, about Timothy Treadwell, who spent his life among Alaskan bears, and who was eventually killed by one. (August 5)
BROKEN FLOWERS The third seriocomic showcase for Bill Murray in as many years, this one courtesy of director Jim Jarmusch. (August 5)
UNTITLED MIKE JUDGE COMEDY On the strength of Office Space, I’m willing to give Mike Judge a lot of rope, but this premise sounds irresistible: an “average dumb-ass” (Judge’s description) wakes up 500 years in the future, as part of a military experiment, and discovers that he’s the smartest person alive in a world of the future that has been dumbed-down beyond imagination. (August 5)
ZU WARRIORS Gosh, another lush martial arts spectacular starring Ziyi Zhang? Well, there were those major disappointments, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and House of Flying Daggers-- maybe they’ll get it right this time? (September)
2046 The long-awaited, long-delayed new film by Wong Kar-wai. (August 5)
LAST DAYS Gus van Sant’s Cannes sensation, shot in the elliptical style of Elephant and the brilliant Gerry, based loosely on the life and death of Kurt Cobain. (July 22)
THE BROTHERS GRIMM Terry Gilliam lends his eye to a fantasia built around the titular fraternal storytellers, played by Heath Ledger and Matt Damon. (July 29)
PULSE More insinuating creepiness from Kiyoshi Kurosawa, director of Cure and Bright Future. (July)
KINGS AND QUEEN
LORDS OF DOGTOWN
HERBIE FULLY LOADED
MARCH OF THE PENGUINS
THE LAST MOGUL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF LEW WASSERMAN
BAD NEWS BEARS
AN UNFINISHED LIFE
SEARCHING FOR THE WRONG-EYED JESUS
THE GREAT RAID
TOUCH THE SOUND
IN MY QUEUE
DOMINION: PREQUEL TO THE EXORCIST
TELL THEM WHO YOU ARE
MAD HOT BALLROOM
MR. AND MRS. SMITH
MY SUMMER OF LOVE
HUSTLE & FLOW
THE SKELETON KEY
I DON’T CARE!
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
It’s the new Ridley Scott movie, but I just don’t care… (That said, I’m scheduled to see it at work this week…)
THE LONGEST YARD
Nothing like an Adam Sandler remake to make the raucous, rough-edged 1974 original look like holy text.
Bancini, a fellow patient on the ward with R.P. McMurphy in the film version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest summed it up best when he said, “I’m tired… I’m tired… I’m tired…”
THE PERFECT MAN
This is a Hilary Duff movie. They already suckered me into one teen queen movie this summer by teaming her with a 1968 Volkswagen. Using Heather Locklear in the same fashion is not going to work.
THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS
I admit it—I just don’t think I’m the target demographic here.
THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL
Leave me alone, Virtuoso Homemade Filmmaker Genius Boy, you bother me!
A futuristic geopolitical thriller starring Christian… Slater… and…zzzzzz….Selma….Blair—Hunh? Selma Blair? Okay. I’m listening. Oh. Geopolitical thriller with Christian Slater. Wake me when it’s over…zzzzzzzzzz
Looks to be a raven-haired, long-locked Glenn Close as a Mrs. Robinson-type in a dysfunctional romantic foursome involving Close’s daughter. I could be wrong, but based on the trailer… I don’t care!
The Los Angeles Times describes it as a movie about an American scientist who “embarks on a passionate affair with a Lebanese cook as a response to her suffocating marriage to an adulterous British politician.” The scientist is played by Joan Allen. The British politician is played by Sam Neill. The cook is played by Simon Akbarian. The film is directed by Sally Potter (Orlando, The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried). Heard enough? No? Okay. And the entire movie is performed in iambic pentameter verse.
Another extreme action thriller from the supreme hack Rob Cohen, whose entire output over the past 10 years seems directly attributable to mid-life crisis.
Kid has superhero parents, tries to live a “normal” life. From the director of Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo, Surviving Christmas and the recently announced update of H.R. Pufnstuf.
Martin Lawrence teaching basketball to wacky group of junior high school kids. You so craaa-a-a-azy!
THE DUKES OF HAZZARD
See entry for The Longest Yard, substitute “Jessica Simpson” or “Seann William Scott” for “Adam Sandler." Consider seppuku before mentioning title of this movie and the phrase “holy text” in same sentence.
Horror movie starring Cole Hauser. But isn’t any movie starring Cole Hauser a horror movie?
DEUCE BIGALOW, EUROPEAN GIGOLO
Hey, it’s directed by a guy named Mike Bigelow. That means this one’ll probably be pretty good.
Does anyone else detect the lingering stench of The Stepford Wives? And the name Nora Ephron attached as director isn’t exactly a can of Glade.
MUST LOVE DOGS
Please, Diane Lane, no more fuzzy romantic comedies! You’re too good to be nuzzling with John Cusack!
Seems no one listened to my impassioned plea for an embargo on any combination of pairings of Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. Vaughn and Wilson are the stars, and I have no inside information, but would anyone like to wager on the probability of a hilarious cameo appearance by Stiller somewhere in the middle of this thing?
…and last, and almost certainly least, GOING SHOPPING, the latest self-indulgent pile from the supremely narcissistic and solipsistic Henry Jaglom. Is there anyone left who would willingly pay to see a new Henry Jaglom film? I can honestly say I’d rather see a Dukes of Hazzard/Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo double feature at a drive-in during a massive electrical storm than think one more thought about this or any other film in Jaglom’s oeuvre. But now, as I turn in for the night, my head is going to be filled with all the unleashed memories of all the horrible Jaglom films I’ve seen-- Somebody to Love, Eating, Venice/Venice, Last Summer in the Hamptons and New Year’s Day. Not to mention that smug mug with that ever-present hat. All these things are swirling around in my mind now as I go off to sleep. Thanks a lot, Henry, for your films, for all those indelible images, the warm, probing conversation, and that smug mug and that ever-present hat. Michael Emil never wore a hat. He was proud of his bald head. Thanks a lot, Henry. Thanks a lot.