Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Summer Movie Preview

One of the greatest achievements in the history of cinema will be happening in May of this year, but it's not going to be on the big screen. I can almost guarantee that none of the film released this summer will match the quality of The Sopranos. But, that doesn't mean we might not get some good stuff. So, rather than go through the blockbusters, here's the stuff I'm actually interested in seeing.

May 5
Art School Confidential - Ghost World is one of my all time favorite films, so a follow up from the same talent has a lot of potential. Early reviews indicate that the film is funny, but not as emotionally intense as Ghost World. So, it's more along the lines of Zwigoff's Bad Santa, an entertaining, but somewhat hollow film. Of course, I do have a soft spot for poking fun at pretentious art students, I actually liked that stuff in Six Feet Under season four. So, I'm all over this.

The Promise - I wasn't a big fan of Farewell My Concubine, but I usually enjoy these ornate martial arts spectacle films. It should be visually astonishing if nothing else.

Mission Impossible: III - I'm sort of torn on this one. On the one hand, I did really enjoy Alias for the first two years, but everything that JJ Abrams has done since then has been pretty weak. However, I'll probably end up seeing it, if only for the Magnolia reunion between Cruise and Hoffman.

May 12
Down in the Valley - This revisionist Western is notable for being an actual independent film, and I'm hearing it's a refreshing change from the quirky indies that make up so much of the art house market. It seems like a throwback to grittier 70s films, and if reviews remain strong, I'll probably check it out.

May 26
X-Men: The Last Stand - Having just read the Chris Claremont run, I feel obliged to check it out. I haven't been as into the films as some people, probably because they can't live up to the scope of Claremont or Morrison's work. But, the addition of Six Feet Under's Ben Foster and Kelsey Grammer as The Beast should be interesting.

June 9
A Prarie Home Companion - I usually enjoy Altman's stuff, and the presence of Paul Thomas Anderson as "ghost director" puts it over the top. It's been a long time since we got some new PTA, so this'll at least be a little something. Plus, it's an amazing cast.

June 30
Superman Returns - I'm looking forward to this the most of any of the big blockbusters. The first trailer looked amazing, yesterday's not as good, but there were still some amazing visuals. Unlike Batman, I feel like there hasn't been a definitive film treatment, so Singer can claim the character for his own here. I'm a bit worried that he'll pull a Peter Jackson and go overboard with homage to the original film, and lose sight of making a great film in its own right.

July 7
A Scanner Darkly - I've been waiting for this one for a long time. This will be Linklater's first significant followup to his best film, Before Sunset, and also his first foray into sci-fi stuff. I feel like this will be the first film to really capture the feel of a Philip K. Dick novel. Plus, it's got Keanu as a stoner, clearly that's how we all want to see Keanu.

July 21
Lady in the Water - I soured on M. after Signs, but with Christopher Doyle shooting the film, it could be worth returning. Doyle always elevates the game of anyone he works with, and M. still has one of the most distinct voices in Hollywood. If reviews are good, I'll check it out.

July 28
Miami Vice - Michael Mann's one of my favorite directors, and this is first serious return to the cops and criminals world since Heat. His visual energy should make this more than just a buddy movie. Plus, it's good to see Gong Li getting more American work.

August 18
The Science of Sleep - Gondry is probably the most visually exciting director in film today, and the prospect of an entire film at the level of his craziest videos is very appealing. If he can capture the same emotional feeling of Eternal Sunshine, this could be a masterpiece.

Clerks II - I'm trusting Smith on this one. He's always made his best films in the indie world, and if the failure of Mallrats produced the brilliant Chasing Amy, the colossal failure of Jersey Girl will hopefully create an equal and opposite reaction. If this film fails, Smith's career is basically over, so hopefully he'll bring the A game.

Trust the Man - The trailer's pretty solid, and the prospect of Julianne Moore and David Duchovny in the same film is very intriuging. I'd like to see Duchovny get some success, he was brilliant on The X-Files, but hasn't found a film role that allowed him to use his talents in the same way. Plus, Moore hasn't made a particularly good film since The Hours, so I'd like to see her bounce back.

August 25
Idlewild - This is another film that's been delayed countless time, but it seems to be set for release now. I loved Speakerboxx/The Love Below, and Outkast's videos have always been fun and inventive. If they can capture that in a film musical, it should be a really entertaining film.

So, it's not the best season, but there's some potentially great stuff here. As long as A Scanner Darkly doesn't get delayed yet again, it'll be cool.

Related Posts
2006 Film Preview


Anonymous said...

From : in regards to who is actually directing the film, paul said "whatever chef is going to take credit for it, it is going to be a very spicy dish that I will be more than happy to dine on."

So I wouldn't really call A Prairie Home Companion PTA-material. I'm actually more anxious about the new film he's going to start shooting pretty soon.

I'm eagerly waiting for Scanner Darkly though. It will have at least some Radiohead tracks.


Patrick said...

Yeah, I'm not actually expecting too much PTA in the film, but it does look to be Altman's best in a while.

And yeah, There Will Be Blood has a lot of potential, I'm really looking forward to it. It'd be near impossible to top Magnolia, but I loved the experimental direction of Punch Drunk, so whatever PTA comes out with, I'm there.