2006 October fall movie preview, October 2006 films

2006 Fall Movie Preview: October

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Perhaps we shouldn’t focus our attention so singularly on one movie, but “The Fountain” might be the one release that takes the pain of “Snakes on a Plane” away. Have you seen the trailer for this? Suh, weet. If that one doesn’t do the trick, “The Prestige” surely will. Nolan, Jackman, Bale, Caine, Scarlett…homina homina homina. There’s also another “Saw” movie, there’s Sofia Coppola’s spin on the life of Marie Antoinette, and “The Flags of Our Fathers,” written by the guy that wrote the script for the excellent “Jarhead.” As long as you don’t notice that needless “Grudge” sequel, everything will be just fine.

The Departed (Warner Brothers, October 6)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin
Director: Martin Scorcese
Rating: R
Read our review

The Pitch: A young cop (DiCaprio) is assigned to infiltrate a Boston mob boss (Nicholson), while at the same time a member of that mob is sent undercover as a police officer. When both parties discover that there’s a mole amongst their ranks, however, the two men must race to uncover the identity of the other first.
The Buzz: The story is based on the hugely popular Hong Kong trilogy “Infernal Affairs,” so you can only imagine the amount of concern surrounding this thing. On the other hand, with two sequels to the original film already in the bag, box office success could lead to an adaptation of the final installments.
Trailer Highlight: Not available at press time.
Bottom Line: If the Chinese are good at one thing, it’s making cool gangster flicks. Now imagine that in the hands of the King of Gangster Films, Marty Scorcese.
Official Web Site: N/A

Stormbreaker (MGM / Weinstein Company, October 1)

Starring: Sarah Bolger, Jimmy Carr, Robbie Coltrane, Stephen Fry, Damian Lewis, Ewan McGregor, Bill Nighy, Sophie Okonedo, Alex Pettyfer, Missi Pyle, Andy Serkis, Alicia Silverstone, Ashley Walters, Mickey Rourke
Geoffrey Sax

The Pitch: After the death of his uncle, 14-year-old Alex Rider (Pettyfer) is forced by the Special Operations Division of Britain's secret intelligence service, MI6, into a mission that will save millions of lives.
The Buzz: On paper, it sounds like the British version of “Cody Banks,” but the kick-ass trailer paints a picture of what could be the biggest UK import since “Harry Potter.”
Trailer Highlight: “I’m too young to die,” says Alex. Darrius Sayle (Mickey Rourke) wraps his arm around the lad and assures him, “You’re never too young to die.”
Bottom Line:  A killer cast (including young Obi-Wan himself, Ewan McGregor) and a properly-aimed marketing campaign – i.e. to both teens and adults – will set this up for massive success.
Official Web Site: http://stormbreaker.com/

The Fountain (Warner Brothers, October 13)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, Cliff Curtis, Alexander Bisping
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Rating: R

The Pitch: We wish we knew. There are two people (Jackman and Weisz) who live three different existences over a thousand years. Jackman is trying to save Weisz, which is odd since they’ve both drunk from the tree of life, and will live forever.
The Buzz: At last, Aronofsky gets to make his baby, and cast his wife (Weisz) to boot. The movie began production in 2002, but Aronofsky ran afoul with lead actor Brad Pitt (he left to do “Troy,” sucker), and everything was shut down. Now, with a leaner budget ($40 million), Aronofsky gets to make his Kubrick movie.
Trailer Highlight: That shot in the future of what looks like the world falling down on Jackman.
Bottom Line: His first two films (“Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream”) are classics. But this one looks to blow those two out of the water.
Official Web Site: http://pdl.warnerbros.com/wbmovies/thefountain/flashsite/index.html

The Grudge 2 (Columbia, October 13)
Starring: Amber Tamblyn, Edison Chen, Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Beals
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Rating: PG-13

The Pitch: A woman (Tamblyn) travels to Japan to investigate the events surrounding her sister (Gellar), and discovers that a reporter (Chen) has a similar interest in the story.
The Buzz: It stood to reason that they’d make a sequel to “The Grudge” after the first one raked in a whopping $39 million its first weekend. And, since the first one suuuuuuuuuucked, they don’t have to worry about there being any real drop-off in quality. All kidding aside, it is what it is: a horror sequel.
Trailer Highlight: No trailer available at press time.
Bottom Line: It saddens us to see Arielle Kebbel in the cast, since that means that she will surely be killed. Sigh.
Official Web Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/thegrudge2/site/

Man of the Year (Universal, October 13)
Starring: Robin Williams, Laura Linney, Lewis Black, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Walken
Director: Barry Levinson
Rating: N/A
Read our review

The Pitch: A talk show host runs for President as a joke. And wins.
The Buzz: Levinson and Williams have made magic before (“Good Morning Vietnam”), and the last good movie Levinson made was a pointed political comedy (“Wag the Dog”), so this could be good fun. And who doesn’t want to see Williams and Lewis Black face off?
Trailer Highlight: No trailer available at press time.
Bottom Line: We hope this is a smash, if only to dissuade Williams from making another “RV.”
Official Web Site: N/A

The Marine (Fox, October 13)
Starring: John Cena, Kelly Carlson, Robert Patrick, Jeff Chase, Jon Bennett
John Bonito

The Pitch: A Marine (Cena) returns from battle to find that his girlfriend (Carlson) is ensnared in a kidnapping plot.
The Buzz: It’s brought to you by World Wrestling Entertainment, and John Cena is better known as the Doctor of Thuganomics. Need we go on…? Okay, just one more fact, then: it was originally scheduled for a January 2006 release but keeps being pushed back. The stench of a flop is in the air…
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time. What a shock.
Bottom Line: Even sight unseen, it’s a safe bet that if this thing wasn’t a WWE production, it would’ve gone straight to video…and may yet.
Official Web Site: N/A. This just keeps getting better and better.

Flags of our Fathers (Paramount, October 20)
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, Paul Walker, Jamie Bell, Barry Pepper, John Benjamin Hickey
Clint Eastwood

The Pitch: The life stories of the six men who raised the flag at The Battle of Iwo Jima, a turning point in WWII.
The Buzz: With Eastwood directing a script by William Broyles, Jr. (“Jarhead”) and Paul Haggis (“Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash”), people are already suggesting that it’s the next “Saving Private Ryan.”
Trailer Highlight: No trailer a press time.
Bottom Line: Even without a trailer, Eastwood’s track record is sufficiently unblemished for us to say that this will be a must-see, a big hit, and possibly even an Oscar contender.
Official Web Site: http://www.flagsofourfathers.com/

Marie Antoinette (Columbia, October 20)
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Molly Shannon, Judy Davis, Steve Coogan, Asia Argento, Marianne Faithful, Aurore Clement
Sofia Coppola

The Pitch: A stylized account – based on Antonia Fraser's book – of the naive 19-year-old Viennese girl who, in 1774, became the queen of France.
The Buzz: Sofia Coppola became the queen of indie cinema thanks to “Lost in Translation,” but, no shock here, the French critics at Cannes HATED it. The Americans, meanwhile, leaned toward calling it pleasant fluff.
Trailer Highlight: When New Order’s “Ceremony” kicks in and we get a rapid-fire montage of the emotional highs and lows of Marie’s reigns.
Bottom Line: The art house crowd will go nuts, but even with that cast and an ‘80s modern rock soundtrack that might remind one of “Moulin Rouge” in passing, it’s hard to bet on a period drama playing to a mass audience.
Official Web Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/marieantoinette/

Running with Scissors (Columbia, October 20)

Starring: Annette Bening, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jill Clayburgh, Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Evan Rachel Wood, Alec Baldwin, Vanessa Redgrave, Joseph Cross
Ryan Murphy

The Pitch: Augusten Burroughs (Cross), who has an alcoholic father (Baldwin) and an unstable mother (Bening), is handed off to his mother's therapist, Dr. Finch (Cox), where he spends his adolescent years as a member of Finch's bizarre extended family.
The Buzz: Director Murphy, creator of “Nip/Tuck,” has assembled a tremendous ensemble full of big names and dependable performers, but will it be too quirky for mainstream audiences? Even if it is based on Augusten Burroughs’ memoirs, it looks notably similar to “The Royal Tennebaums”…which also starred Gwyneth Paltrow, come to think of it.
Trailer Highlight: Baldwin says he hasn’t had a drink in three years; Bening waves the waitress over and says, “Excuse me, could you get him a medal, please?”
Bottom Line: The trailer’s cleverly funny, but America hasn’t been buying many tickets to clever comedies lately. It’d be nice if they’d choose this flick to change their tune.
Official Web Site: http://www.runningwithscissors-movie.com/

Fast Food Nation (Fox Searchlight, October 20)
Starring: Patricia Arquette, Bobby Cannavale, Luis Guzman, Ethan Hawke, Ashley Johnson, Greg Kinnear, Kris Kristofferson, Avril Lavigne, Wilmer Valderrama, Bruce Willis
Director: Richard Linklater
Rating: R

The Pitch: When an outbreak of contaminated meat threatens a nationwide fast-food chain, the company sends a marketing executive (Kinnear) to find the cause.
The Buzz: The trailer doesn’t offer much, and the fact that it’s based on a nonfiction book has us worried, but it could be to the beef industry what “Thank You for Smoking” was to the tobacco industry. In other words, we’re incredibly optimistic.
Trailer Highlight: The shot of the kid dropping a hamburger patty on the floor, only to pick it back up and throw it on the grill. (Yep, you know they do that, too.)
Bottom Line: This is the Year of the Satire, and we’re lovin’ it.
Official Web Site: http://www.fastfoodnation-movie.com/

Killshot (MGM, October 20)
Starring: Diane Lane, Thomas Jane, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Johnny Knoxville
Director: John Madden
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: A couple (Thomas Jane and Diane Lane) are drawn into an elaborate scam by a pair of small-time conmen (Joseph Gordon Levitt and Mickey Rourke).
The Buzz: The fact that this is yet another adaptation of an Elmore Leonard crime novel has us excited, but the killer cast is only more reason to be pumped about this film. Then again, why haven’t we seen a trailer yet?
Trailer Highlight: Not available at press time.
Bottom Line: If it’s anything like “Jackie Brown,” we’re totally there.
Official Web Site: N/A

The Prestige (Touchstone Pictures, October 20)

Starring: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Andy Serkis, Piper Perabo
Director: Christopher Nolan
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: Two rivaling magicians (Bale and Jackman) battle one another for trade secrets, endangering those around them in the process.
The Buzz: Nolan. Bale. Jackman. Caine. Johansson. What more could you ask for? How about a stronger backing from the studio? As of now, the film is only scheduled for a limited release, but here’s hoping that word of mouth changes that in the coming months.
Trailer Highlight: Bale catching a bullet with his bare hand.
Bottom Line: Consider this the movie to see in the fall.
Official Web Site: http://touchstone.movies.go.com/index.html?dlink=prestige

Saw III (Lionsgate, October 27)

Starring: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfayden, Dina Meyer, Bahar Soomekh
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Rating: R

The Pitch: A doctor (Soomekh) is forced to take care of Jigsaw (Bell) while his successor targets a new victim (Macfayden).
The Buzz: So Jigsaw doesn’t die at the end of “Saw II”? He looked awfully peaceful in Donnie Wahlberg’s car, but maybe that’s because he knew what was waiting for Donnie inside the house. Consider that the first two “Saw” movies have cost a mere $5.2 million – combined – to make, and have raked in a staggering $246 million worldwide. Expect to see one of these movies every Halloween until they are no longer so incredibly profitable.
Trailer Highlight: The shot of the guy who looks like he stumbled into a "Hellraiser" movie.
Bottom Line: Until they give us a reason to believe otherwise, we must assume that the “Saw” crew knows what it’s doing. But if they dare to kill off Dina Meyer, there will be hell to pay.
Official Web Site: http://www.saw3.com/

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