2006 August summer movie preview, August 2006 films

2006 Summer Movie Preview: August

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At long last, it is here, the Greatest Movie Ever Made. Okay, we’ve only seen the teaser trailer so far, but it has to be the Greatest Movie Ever Made. There are snakes, and they’re on a plane. What more could you ask for?

Actually, there are some other movies of note here, too. Will Ferrell hasn’t shown much judgment lately (“Bewitched,” “Kicking and Screaming”), but his NASCAR movie looks to change that. And what’s this, a sequel to “Clerks”? This we gotta see, even if there’s no talk of snoochie boochie noochies.

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Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Columbia, August 4)
Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole
Director: Adam McKay
Rating: PG-13
Read our review

The Pitch: NASCAR racing sensation Rick Bobby (Ferrell) and his partner (Reilly) are challenged for the number one spot by a French Formula One racer (Cohen).
The Buzz: The last time Ferrell and McKay worked together, they made a very funny movie called “Anchorman” worthy of multiple viewings. We can hardly wait to see what they’re hiding up their sleeves this time.
Trailer Highlight: “Dear Lord baby Jesus, I wanna thank you for my family, my two beautiful sons, Walker and Texas Ranger…”
Bottom Line: NASCAR + rednecks = funny.
Official Web Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/talladeganights/index.html


Fearless (Focus, August 4)
Starring: Jet Li, Shidou Nakamura, Dong Yong, Michelle Yeoh
Director: Ronny Yu
Rating: PG-13

The Pitch: The story of martial arts legend Huo Yuanjia and his journey to greatness.
The Buzz: Publicized as Jet Li’s last martial arts film, this is either one big publicity stunt or Li doesn’t plan on working in Hollywood ever again.
Trailer Highlight: Insert cool action sequence here.
Bottom Line: It’s Jet Li kicking ass for two hours. Of course we’ll be there.
Official Web Site: http://www.fearlessthemovie.com/

"Quick, get the magnifying glass."
The Ant Bully (Warner Bros., August 4)
Actors: voices of Nicolas Cage, Paul Giamatti, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Alan Cumming
Director: John A. Davis
Rating: NR
Read our review

The Pitch: A boy who floods an ant colony is magically reduced in size and forced to repair the damage he causes.
The Buzz: Yet another animated movie…about bugs. Even worse, the trailer actually invites comparisons to the other bug movies with its audition reel setup. Geez, where did they come up with that idea?
Trailer Highlight: That one part that didn’t rip off Pixar. You know, the one part…oh, wait, that’s right. The whole thing ripped off Pixar, and “Antz.”
Bottom Line: This is probably a very entertaining book. Have your kids read that instead.
Official Web Site: http://www2.warnerbros.com/antbully/


World Trade Center (Paramount, August 11)
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Maria Bello, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jay Hernandez
Director: Oliver Stone
Rating: PG-13
Read our review

The Pitch: The true story of two police officers who were trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center buildings.
The Buzz: Hey, it’s Oliver Stone, so it will surely be met with resistance in some circles. Perhaps he chose this in order to make us forget about the homoerotic adventures of “Alexander.”
Trailer Highlight: No trailer available at press time.
Bottom Line: Someone is going to make a great movie about 9/11. We’re not sure this is the one.
Official Web Site: http://www.wtcmovie.com/

"Hey, can I die in this movie? I'm 2 for 2 at
the Oscars when I die."
The Reaping (Warner Bros., August 11)
Actors: Hilary Swank, David Morrissey, AnnaSophia Robb
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: A fallen missionary (Swank) spends her time debunking religious myths, until she visits a town and experiences things she can’t explain.
The Buzz: Director Stephen Hopkins went a long way to restoring his street cred with his work on “24,” but let us not forget that this is the man responsible for such gems as “Lost in Space,” “The Ghost and the Darkness,” and “Blown Away.” He’s also never done horror before. But neither has Swank, so is this the blind leading the blind, or one of those times where everything just falls into place?
Trailer Highlight: No trailer available at press time
Bottom Line: It’s a supernatural thriller and it’s Swank, so we’re intrigued.
Official Web Site: N/A


Zoom (Sony, August 11)
Actors: Tim Allen, Spencer Breslin, Chevy Chase, Courteney Cox
Director: Peter Hewitt
Rating: PG

The Pitch: A former superhero (Allen) is called out of retirement to teach a bunch of scrubs at a private school how to be superheroes.
The Buzz: Hooo boy. How many movies are going to steal plot points from “The Incredibles”?
Trailer Highlight: No trailer available at press time.
Bottom Line: Go out in the back yard and play catch with your kids. School’s going to start soon, and you’ll wish you had done something with them besides staring at a movie screen.
Official Web Site: N/A

"Now, am I to understand that we have a
matter regarding motherf*cking snakes on
this motherf*cking plane?"
Snakes on a Plane (New Line, August 18)
Actors: Samuel L. Jackson, Byron Lawson, Rachel Blanchard, Keenan Thompson, Sunny Mabrey
Director: David R. Ellis
Rating: R
Genre: Action
Read our review

The Pitch: A federal agent (Jackson) is assigned to protect a witness in a Mob trial on a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles, while an assassin hired to kill the witness pays off airport security to load a crate of deadly snakes on board to take him out.
The Buzz: Deafening, and we’d like to think that we were one of the first to trumpet the movie, during an interview with screenwriter Sheldon Turner in May 2005 (Turner did a polish on the “Snakes” script). Never in our lives have we seen such overwhelming fan support for a movie with no real source material. There’s no graphic novel, comic book, short story, anything that preceded this. But once that title hit the web, boom, the fans ran with it. There’s a blog, there was a make-your-own-poster contest, and there’s even a quote tracker. Last time we checked, four MySpace profiles were titled “Snakes on a Plane,” and that doesn’t include “Snakes on a MySpace” (we’re friends with them).

And here’s the best part: the studio is listening. Even though principal photography was finished last year, they recently brought Jackson back to shoot some more scenes to give the fans the violent, profane R-rated movie they are craving, including using a line that one fan came up with in his own audio trailer (“I want these motherfucking snakes off this motherfucking plane!”). Smart move, gents: the movie was shooting for a PG-13 rating, which would have caused a revolt amongst the “SoaP” faithful.
Trailer Highlight: There’s only one brief one currently on the web, but it’s a tossup between Jackson tasering the cobra, and the snake crawling up between the fat woman’s breasts. Oh, and the shot of the snake crawling into the cat’s kennel.
Bottom Line: Forget “X-Men III” and “Superman Returns”: we are literally counting the days until this movie comes out. August has never seemed so far away.
Official Web Site: http://www.snakesonaplanemovie.com/

ALSO: Blog about all the SoaP hype on Premium Hollywood!


Clerks II (Weinstein Co., August 18)
Starring: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Rosario Dawson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Kevin Wiseman, Wanda Sykes
Director: Kevin Smith
Rating: NR
Read our review

The Pitch: No longer employees of the local video store and Quick Stop, Dante and Randall (O’Halloran and Anderson, respectively) take jobs at Mooby’s, the fictional fast-food restaurant seen in Smith’s previous films.
The Buzz: Smith may have promised fans that “Clerks II” would never happen, but he also promised friend and co-star Jason Mewes that he would make the film if his longtime pal went sober. You can only guess the outcome from here, and the sobriety looks to continue on to the big screen as Jay and Silent Bob are rumored to have kicked the habit as well.
Trailer Highlight: “Maybe we should start calling your friend Padme, because he loves Manakin Skywalker so much. ‘DANGER! DANGER! My name is Anakin. My shitty acting is ruining saga…’”
Bottom Line: The original “Clerks” was one of the funniest comedies of its generation. This looks to trump that success twofold.
Official Web Site: http://www.clerks2.com


The Science of Sleep (Warner Independent, August 18)
Actors: Gael Garcia Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Director: Michel Gondry
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: A man’s overwhelming feelings for his new neighbor cause him to escape into his dreams, but the people in his dreams are preventing him from escaping from them.
The Buzz: Gondry plays with our heads again, but this time in his native tongue and without longtime screenwriter Charlie Kaufman supplying the story. Between this and “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party,” Gondry is building quite the diverse body of work.
Trailer Highlight: Couldn’t get the damn thing to play.
Bottom Line: After “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” we’ll check out anything Gondry does, even if it’s in French.
Official Web Site: N/A


The Night Listener (Miramax, August 18)
Actors: Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Sandra Oh, Rory Culkin
Director: Patrick Stettner
Rating: N/A
Read our review

The Pitch: IMDb, take it away: “In the midst of his crumbling relationship, a radio show host begins speaking to his biggest fan, a young boy, via the telephone. But when questions about the boy's identity come up, the host's life is thrown into chaos.”
The Buzz: Miramax snapped up this thriller at Sundance. That’s all we’ve got.
Trailer Highlight: The “trailer” was just a scene from the movie, and one that didn’t explain anything about anything.
Bottom Line: It’s gotta beat the hell out of “RV.”
Official Web Site: N/A


Beerfest (Warner Bros., August 25)
Actors: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Will Forte, Mo’Nique
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Rating: N/A
Read our review

The Pitch: Two brothers discover an underground beer drinking contest while visiting Germany, and after they’re bounced from competition in embarrassing fashion, return to the States in order to assemble a beer drinking dream team.
The Buzz: The “Super Troopers” guys are making a movie about drinking beer? You don’t nail a niche demographic any better than this.
Trailer Highlight: No trailer available at press time.
Bottom Line: This is the only movie until September that has a chance to take a bite out of the “Snakes on a Plane” audience.
Official Web Site: N/A


DOA: Dead or Alive (Weinstein Co., August 25)
Starring: Devon Aoki, Jaime Pressly, Brian J. White, Kevin Nash, Sarah Carter, Silvio Simac, Holly Valance, Derek Boyer, Natassia Malthe, Matthew Marsden, Robin Shou
Director: Corey Yuen
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: Based on the bestselling game franchise about a group of female fighters in a competition to the death.
The Buzz: The game is great eye candy and the animated feature was entertaining, but whose idea was it to turn this into a live action film? The first trailer isn’t very promising, complete with candy color-haired girls running around with samurai swords.
Trailer Highlight: Jamie Pressly in an American flag bikini.
Bottom Line: We’ve seen this movie before. It was called “Mortal Kombat.”
Official Web Site: N/A


Idlewild (HBO Films, August 25)
Actors: Big Boi, Andre Benjamin, Terrence Howard, Macy Gray, Ving Rhames, Ben Vereen, Cicely Tyson, Patti LaBelle
Director: Bryan Barber
Rating: R
Read our review

The Pitch: A performer at a speakeasy (Boi) and his piano player (Benjamin) try to keep their club from being taken over by gangsters in the Prohibition-era South. (Yes, we’re paraphrasing IMDb’s description here.)
The Buzz: OutKast’s first foray into film is no small-time affair, netting a who’s who of soul singers (LaBelle, Gray, Vereen) to play supporting characters. However, this was originally on the books for December. Was the movie not finished on time? Did it need some tweaking? Does it….suck?
Trailer Highlight: “Who told you that you were in charge?” “Who’s gonna tell me I’m not?”
Bottom Line: Obviously, we’re dying to see it. But the bump from December, and again from March, has us concerned.
Official Web Site: http://www.idlewildmovie.net/


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