2006 November fall movie preview, November 2006 films

2006 Fall Movie Preview: November

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Everyone makes such a big deal when a new actor takes over the role of James Bond, and yet no one seems to notice that it doesn’t really matter who plays Bond if the stories are complete and utter dogshit and the action sequences are dull as dirt. But we’re fans of Daniel Craig, so we’re hoping, finally, that they got it right this time. But if they didn’t, there are all kinds of other options, from animated penguins (don’t even get us started) and Aardman mice to the latest Christopher Guest mockumentary and, even better, a serious documentary on the word ‘fuck’.” Who wouldn’t love that? Oh, and did we mention Tenacious D has their own movie? Rock!

The Flock (MGM, November 3)
Starring: Richard Gere, Claire Danes
Director: Andrew Lau
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: While training his female replacement (Danes), a federal agent (Gere) must track down a missing girl connected to another investigation.
The Buzz: Andy Lau, the director of the incredibly popular Hong Kong gangster trilogy, “Infernal Affairs,” is finally making his American debut. Aside from that, you don’t seriously expect us to buy Gere and Danes as federal agents, do you?
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time.
Bottom Line: The casting is a bit scary, but Lau’s history behind the camera has earned our undying loyalty. We’re officially intrigued.
Official Web Site:  N/A

Borat (20th Century Fox, November 3)

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen
Director: Larry Charles
Rating: R

The Pitch: According to IMDb, Cohen will reprise his hilarious role as the Kazakhstani TV reporter, Borat, where he is dispatched to the United States to report on the greatest country in the world, only to become more interested in locating and marrying Pamela Anderson.
The Buzz: Funnyman Cohen stirred up some early buzz for the film after successfully pissing off the country officials of Kazakhstan, but following an early screening at the Cannes Film Festival, the film is shaping up to be one of the standout comedies of the year.
Trailer Highlight: Borat showing off his VCR like it's new technology.
Bottom Line: Cohen is funniest the zanier he gets, and director Larry Charles has an impressive resume topped with shows like “Seinfeld,” “Entourage” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” We can’t wait.
Official Web Sitehttp://www.borat.tv/ 

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (Walt Disney, November 3)

Starring: Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd, Spencer Breslin, Liliana Mumy, Alan Arkin, Martin Short
Michael Lembeck

The Pitch: Santa (Allen) is faced with double-duty: how to keep his new family happy, and how to stop Jack Frost (Short) from taking over Christmas.
The Buzz: The first film was legitimately enjoyable, the second one had its moments, but the funniest joke here appears to be the one in the title. The trailer is 100% laugh-free. David Krumholtz – formerly known as Bernard the Elf – should be sending his agent a solid gold Mercedes this Christmas for getting him “Numb3rs” and keeping him far, far away from this picture.
Trailer Highlight: As Santa is my witness, the only highlights are the clips from the first two films. It’s really that unfunny. Example: a kid tells Jack Frost to “just chill,” and he howls, “I invented chill!” Ughhhhhh.
Bottom Line: Awful awful awful. Count on a solid opening weekend, but, God willing, word of mouth on the playground will kill the flick quickly after that. Even the under-10 set should have better taste than to accept this.
Official Web Site: http://www.santaclause3.com/

Flushed Away (DreamWorks, November 3)
Starring: voices of Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Sir Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy, Jean Reno
Director: David Bowers, Sam Fell
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: A pampered mouse (Jackman) is flushed into the sewers by a freeloader, and he must enlist the help of a plucky dame (Winslet) in order to avoid the criminal underworld and find his way home.
The Buzz: We love all things Aardman, but this trailer, frankly, scares us. Roddy suffers at least three shots to the groin in one sequence, and then there’s that embarrassing “Finding Nemo” joke. Aardman is wittier than this, and who knows, maybe this is just a matter of DreamWorks, who’s made a living off of cheap humor (“Shrek”), cutting the trailer to be more mouth-breather-friendly.
Trailer Highlight: Le Frog (Reno) snatching a fly out of mid-air, letting the fly live long enough to warn Jackman and Winslet of how crazy Le Frog is, then eating it.
Bottom Line: We’re definitely there, but not quite “Wallace & Gromit” there.
Official Web Site: http://www.flushedaway.com/flash/index.html

Stranger than Fiction (Columbia, November 10)
Starring: Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Queen Latifah, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Tony Hale
Director: Marc Forster
Rating: PG-13

The Pitch: A frustrated author (Thompson) begins writing a story about a man (Ferrell), unaware that her new character is real, and can hear her narration about his life in his head.
The Buzz: Now, this is the kind of movie we’ve been hoping Ferrell would make all along. Namely, no shots of him in his underwear. Indeed, this is a pretty high-concept movie for Ferrell, but he’s surrounded by some very quietly funny people (Hoffman, Thompson).
Trailer Highlight: Lots of stuff, but we’ll have to go with his reaction when Thompson talks about his imminent death. “Why? Hello? COME ON!”
Bottom Line: If this movie isn’t a hit, count on nothing but a string of “Talladega Nights” knockoffs for the next 10 years. Your personal feelings about “Ricky Bobby” aside, that’s still not a good thing.
Official Web Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/strangerthanfiction/

A Good Year (Fox, November 10)
Starring: Russell Crowe, Albert Finney, Abbie Cornish, Marion Cotillard, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Didier Bourdon, Tom Hollander, Freddie Highmore
Ridley Scott

The Pitch: An Englishman (Crowe) inherits a vineyard in Provence from his favorite uncle (Finney). Upon arriving at his new property, he meets an American woman (Cotillard) who claims that the land is hers.
The Buzz: Crowe takes on a part – a complete bastard who just might have a heart underneath all that bluster – which, on an ordinary day, would’ve gone to Hugh Grant.
Trailer Highlight: When the diving board over his uncle’s empty pool breaks and Crowe falls into the mound of dirt at the bottom. His neighbor happens by at just that moment, leaning down and asking him who he is. “I’m the pool man. I do this every Thursday. It’s just routine maintenance.”
Bottom Line: It’s a nice change of role for Crowe – a straight, modern-day drama with some comedic moments – but it might not sell tickets.
Official Web Site: N/A

F*ck (ThinkFilm, November 10)
Starring: Steven Bochco, Chuck D, Drew Carey, Bill Maher, Ice-T, Janeane Garofalo, Ron Jeremy, Kevin Smith, Hunter S. Thompson
Director: Steve Anderson
Rating: R

The Pitch: A documentary about the word’s origin and the offense that some people take to it.
The Buzz: Surprise, surprise, from the studio that brought you “The Aristocrats.” Plus Bill Plympton provides some of that spiffy animation he’s known for. How can it miss?
Trailer Highlight: Anytime the late, great Gonzo (Thompson) is onscreen.
Bottom Line: We’re so (this word edited for content) there.
Official Web Site: http://www.fourletterfilm.com/

Casino Royale (Columbia, November 17)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright
Director: Martin Campbell
Rating: PG-13

The Pitch: Kiss kiss, bang bang. Any questions?
The Buzz: Has any Bond taken the kind of literal and figurative beating that Craig has endured the last 12 months? Give a dude a break; he lost teeth filming this movie, and the Bondhounds still want his head on a platter. We’ll give them points that the tone of the trailer is darker than most Bond flicks, but the last decent Bond movie was James Cameron’s “True Lies,” so there you go.
Trailer Highlight: “So you want me to be part monk, part hitman.”
Bottom Line: They’ve been making the same movie for decades now…and no one but us seems to mind. Sigh.
Official Web Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/casinoroyale/site/

Happy Feet (Warner Brothers, November 17)
Starring: voices of Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman, Brittany Murphy, Hugo Weaving
Director: George Miller
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: For the Emperor penguins, who find their mate through song, Mumbles (Wood) is out of luck, since he can’t carry a tune in a bucket. He can, however, tap dance like nobody’s business.
The Buzz: The first trailer for this, which featured Williams’ Ramon singing “My Way” in Spanish, looked like a joke, some “March of the Penguins” parody. But then we saw that George Miller (the good one, not the other one) was involved and breathed a minor sigh of relief. We also wonder how much it cost them to clear all the songs used in the trailer, though we suppose Chicago and Queen can be bought for a nickel these days.
Trailer Highlight: Taunting the seal.
Bottom Line: Is it too soon for another animated movie, never mind an animated penguin movie?
Official Web Site: http://www2.warnerbros.com/happyfeet/

Tenacious D in ‘The Pick of Destiny’ (New Line, November 17)
Starring: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Meat Loaf, Jason Reed
Director: Liam Lynch
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: Two guitarists (Black and Gass) dream of being the greatest band in the world, but in order to achieve their goal, they must find the fabled Pick of Destiny.
The Buzz: This has the makings of becoming the best bad movie of all time. It looks utterly ridiculous, and yet, we cannot turn away. We are but men. Rock.
Trailer Highlight: The devil on drums? The flaming microphone? The guy hitting Kyle in the back of the head with a bottle? Too many to count.
Bottom Line: We hope they show this one at a theater where we can drink.
Official Web Site: http://www.tenaciousdmovie.com/teaser.html

Babel (Paramount Classics, November 17)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal, Koji Yakusho, Elle Fanning
Alejandro González Iñárritu

The Pitch: A trilogy of stories, set variously in Morocco, Tunisia, Mexico and Japan. Pitt and Blanchett play a couple who experience a tragic accident while vacationing in Morocco; their lives intersect with a Japanese teenager and her problems with her father, and a Mexican nanny who kidnaps two American children.
The Buzz: This year’s “Crash,” brought to you by the same fellow who helmed “21 Grams.”
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time.
Bottom Line: Anything with Brad Pitt in its cast is going to get media attention, but the clips of the film that are floating around the ‘net make it look pretty depressing. Makes for an art-house smash, followed by good business as a rental from curious Pitt fans.
Official Web Site: http://www.babelmovie.com/

Slow Burn (Lionsgate, November 17)
Starring: Ray Liotta, LL Cool J, Jolene Blalock, Nora Timmer, Taye Diggs, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donny Falsetti, Bruce McGill, Mekhi Phifer
Wayne Beach

The Pitch: A district attorney (Liotta) is involved in a 24-hour showdown with a gang leader (LL Cool J) and is, at the same time, being manipulated by an attractive assistant district attorney (Blalock) and a cryptic stranger.
The Buzz: You wanna talk slow? This thing was filmed in 2003 but still hasn’t made it to theaters. That’s slow. And ominous.
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time.
Bottom Line: A delay of that long, coupled with a lack of any mention of the film on Lionsgate’s website, bodes ill.
Official Web Site: N/A

The Return (Rogue, November 17)

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Peter O'Brien, Sam Shepard, Erinn Allison, Johnny Bartee, Kate Beahan
Asif Kapadia

The Pitch: A successful young business woman (Gellar) starts having nightmares about a young woman who was murdered 25 years ago.
The Buzz: The once and former Buffy bookends her “Grudge” pictures with another horror flick? Is she trying to cement her reputation as a scream queen…?
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time.
Bottom Line: Given the Gellar / “Grudge” connection, we have to figure that if this was even the least bit good, there’d at least be a teaser trailer out by now to catch the eye of horror fans.
Official Web Site: N/A

Deck the Halls (Fox, November 22)
Starring: Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick, Kristin Davis, Kristin Chenoweth, Alia Shawkat, Sabrina Aldridge, Kelly Aldridge
John Whitesell

The Pitch: Two neighbors (Devito and Broderick) have it out after one of them decorates his house for the holidays so brightly that it can be seen from space.
The Buzz: DeVito and Broderick can certainly be funny, but Christmas pictures are always a dicey proposition…especially when one of the film’s co-writers is guilty of having composed both “Big Momma’s House” and “Big Momma’s House 2.”
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time.
Bottom Line: We currently have no reason to believe that this will not suck.
Official Web Site: N/A

Deja Vu (Touchstone, November 22)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Adam Goldberg, Jim Caviezel
Tony Scott

The Pitch: An ATF agent (Washington) travels back in time to save a woman from being murdered, falling in love with her during the process.
The Buzz: Tony Scott doesn’t generally make deep pictures, but he almost always makes great popcorn flicks. This one looks like it might actually be both.
Trailer Highlight: “He killed her four days ago.” “Yeah, that’s one theory.”
Bottom Line: Like “The Sixth Sense” and “Memento,” this is one people will go back and see a second time so they can find out what they missed the first time around.
Official Web Site: http://DejaVu.movies.com

For Your Consideration (Warner Independent, November 22)

Starring: Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, Harry Shearer, Eugene Levy, Christopher Guest, Don Lake, Michael Hitchcock, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Fred Willard, John Michael Higgins, Larry Miller, Michael McKean, Bob Balaban, Ricky Gervais
Director: Christopher Guest
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: An internet rumor mill generates early Oscar buzz for the cast (including O’Hara, Posey and Shearer) of an independent movie while the film is still in production.
The Buzz: All of Guest’s usual suspects are here, not to mention a few new faces in Gervais and Rachel Harris, and while the director will probably get shut out of the real Oscars once again, the potential to take home top honors for the Globes’ Best Comedy/Musical category is certainly within reach.
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time.
Bottom Line: It’s Christopher Guest, of course you should see it.
Official Web Site: N/A

Bobby (Weinstein Co., November 22)
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Lindsay Lohan, Elijah Wood, William H. Macy, Helen Hunt, Christian Slater, Heather Graham, Laurence Fishburne, Freddy Rodriguez, Nick Cannon, Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Shia LaBeouf, Joshua Jackson, Joy Bryant, Kip Pardue, David Krumholtz, Harry Belafonte, Jacob Vargas, Freddy Rodriguez, Ashton Kutcher, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Director: Emilio Estevez
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: The story about the men and women whose lives intersected at the Ambassador Hotel on the same night Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.
The Buzz: Wow. I mean, look at that list of actors. On the flip side, the inflated cast could spell trouble for this year’s award shows. We all saw the blasphemous Oscar nod that William Hurt received last year, and though he certainly deserved some form of recognition, five minutes of screen time should never equal a golden statue.
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time.
Bottom Line: Can we please see a trailer first?
Official Web Site:  N/A 

Let’s Go to Prison (Universal, November 22)
Starring: Dax Shepard, Will Arnett, Chi McBride, Dylan Baker, Steve Dahl, David Koechner, Michael Shannon
Director: Bob Odenkirk
Rating: R

The Pitch: After being wrongly convicted of a crime, the son of a highly-esteemed judge (Arnett) is sent to prison. While there, he’s forced to share a cell with a career criminal (Shepard) looking for revenge on the very judge who sent him there.
The Buzz: “The State” alum Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon have been polishing shitty scripts for the past few years, but this is one of few movies they’ve actually been a part of since day one. In that regards, expect more “Reno 911” and less “Herbie: Fully Loaded.”
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time.
Bottom Line: Prison jokes only go so far.
Official Web Site:  N/A 

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