Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Most Anticipated Films of 2006


After posting my annual Best Films of the Year list for 2005, I received several e-mails and calls asking what films I'm excited about on the 2006 horizon. Here are a few upcoming films that have caught my eye, though, having not seen any of them yet, don't hold me to their quality! This list is not in any sort of order of interest other than the first dozen or so, nor is it by any means exhaustive, especially when you consider that most of the indie films I love get little to no pre-release buzz. Even so, there are some more mainstream films on the way that I'm really excited about (gasp!). There are a lot here so you may want to break it into a couple sessions! Heck, you might just want to print it out and consult it from time to time. Enjoy.


V For Vendetta (trailer)
The Wachowski bros (The Matrix Trilogy) are back, producing this Orwellian film based on a graphic novel series from the 80s created in response to the conservative slide in Thatcher's England. Funny then how it looks so laser accurate and prescient to my feelings toward America, circa 2006. In a totalitarian world ruled by fear and deceit, one man dares to fight back. How audiences will respond to a character who is also a terrorist remains to be seen. Expect this Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving flick to generate a lot of controversy and discussion. This just may be the most subversive studio film to come out post-9/11. Mar. 17

Marie Antoinette (trailer)
Sofia Coppola follows up her intoxicating Lost In Translation with a film that is anything but an indie. This lavish costume drama examines the life of the 18th century French teen ruler played by Kirsten Dunst, and her husband, Louis XVI, played by Jason Schwartzman. After Lost in Translation, I'd go see anything to which Coppola puts her lens. Oct. 13

Lady In The Water (trailer)
I was one of the few people who thought M. Night Shyamalan's last thriller, The Village was not only his best film, but the year's best. His latest contribution is based on a bedtime story he made up for his kids. Being that it comes from him, it probably gave them and will give us nightmares for weeks. The brilliant and woefully underrated Paul Giamatti stars as an apartment complex maintenance man who discovers a mythical creature, Bryce Dallas Howard, in the complex swimming pool. July 21

The Da Vinci Code (trailer)
What do you get when you take the biggest book of the decade, add an A-list director in Ron Howard and throw in super-star Tom Hanks as the lead--possibly the year's monster hit, that's what. This story of religious intrigue and the clash of truth and cover-up crackled in written form. If Howard can translate that to film, The Da Vinci Code will be a phenomenally exciting (not to mention, controversial) couple of hours. May 19

Thank You for Smoking (trailer)
Oh satire, wonderful satire. One of the first things you learn in film studies classes is that you can get away with more and make a deeper impact with humor than with hard-hitting drama. You never see the subversive commentary until you're laughing and then it's already too late. Witness this gem that takes on big tobacco. Mar. 17

Superman Returns (trailer)
Brilliant homage or slavish remake? We won't know till we see it, but Bryan Singer's latest foray into the comic-book realm certainly looks slick and promising. The trailer alone can give you tingles (we miss you, Marlon). And hey, look at it this way--at least this one doesn't have Nicholas Cage anywhere near it. June 30

Miami Vice (trailer)
Who better to adapt the iconic 1980s television series than the man who created it in the first place, Michael Mann. Mann's body of work, especially in the arena of epic crime dramas (Heat, Collateral) is some of the very best out there. Doubtless, this film will only enhance it. Look for Colin Farrell as Sonny Crockett, the role once inhabited by Don Johnson and Jamie Foxx as Ricardo Tubbs. July 28

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (trailer)
As a rule, I try to avoid Jerry Bruckheimer movies like the avian flu. But even I have to admit that the first Pirates left a whopping smile on my face. With director Gore Verbinski back at the helm and all of the stellar cast returning, this latest chapter should prove to be no less enjoyable. July 7

Casino Royale
I can't say I was excited to see Pierce Brosnan so callously ejected from the franchise, nor the addition of Daniel Craig as the newest martini-drinking super-spy. But even I am going to rush out to see this movie. What can I say? Every boy--young or old--wants to be James Bond. This installment is said to be darker, gritter, more true to Ian Fleming's source material. Having read everything Fleming wrote, this excites me. But the last time they tried to do something like this with Timothy Dalton, the films bombed (though I have to admit, I loved them). Nov. 17

Flags Of Our Fathers
When Clint Eastwood began this ambitious WWII drama recreating the battle of Iwo Jima and the fates of the six American flag-raisers immortalized in the famous 1945 photograph, he had no idea that he would find the Japanese story every bit as compelling and engrossing. Eventually he would end up carving two films out of the project in order to show both sides. This is the first one.

Brick (trailer)
A classic noir thriller wrapped in an adolescent skin. In Brick, a teenage loner finds himself in the grimy netherworld of a high school crime ring as he tries to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his ex-girlfriend.

Joyeux Noel (trailer)
One of my favorite stories from high school history class comes to life in this film about soldiers on both sides of the WWI trenches who cease hostilities for a night to celebrate Christmas together. Nominated for a 2005 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Mar. 3

The White Countess (trailer)
Technically, this is a 2005 release, but that was more for the Academy voters than for you and I. James Ivory and the late Ishmael Merchant's final film together is a lush and gorgeous story (do those two make any other kind?) set in 1930's Shanghai, just before the Japanese invasion, where a blind American diplomat, played by Ralph Fiennes, develops a curious relationship with a Russian refugee who will do whatever it takes to support her family.

Tristram Shanty: A Cock and Bull Story (trailer)
The novel is Laurence Sterne's "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman." It's a huge, lumbering, aimless yet witty piece of 18th century literature generally regarded as utterly unfilmable. But, shhhh, we won't tell these guys that. In the vein of mockumentaries, this one looks delightful.

Tsotsi (trailer)
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film (2005), Tsotsi is the story of a gang leader in South Africa who unexpectedly finds his life and lifestyle changed when he must care for a tiny infant. Feb. 24

A Scanner Darkly (trailer)
Director Richard Linklater's at it again! Using the same sort of rotoscoping animation he first showcased in Waking Life, Linklater adapts sci-fi master, Philip K. Dick's story about a bleak future world. Too bad Dick won't be able to see it. The author, who died decades ago, never got to see some of this best works transferred to the screen (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report). Mar. 31 or July 28

Zodiac
David Fincher followed up his earth-shattering Fight Club with the mediocre thriller, The Panic Room. Now he plumbs the material from his earlier films, most notably Se7en, for a story about the infamous "Zodiac Killer" who is alleged to have murdered dozens of people in the Bay Area during the 1970s.

All The King's Men
Sean Penn, Jude Law and Kate Winslet star in Steven Zaillian's adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's novel about corruption in Southern politics.

The Good German
Steven Soderbergh's been a busy guy lately. With best-bud George Clooney in the lead, Soderbergh weaves a tale of mystery and murder in post-WWII Berlin. Also starring Cate Blanchett and Tobey Maguire.

American Dreamz (trailer)
What's weirder than a movie about an American Idol-esque TV show? How 'bout throwing in a singing Islamic suicide bomber and a dim-witted U.S. President from Texas. Yep, this one's sure to be both funny and piss people off. From the quirky and admittedly witty mind of Paul Weitz (About a Boy, In Good Company). With each successive movie, it's getting harder and harder to imagine that Weitz first directed American Pie. Starring Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid and Mandy Moore. Apr. 21

X-Men: The Last Stand (trailer)
The first one sucked rocks. The second one was one of the best super-hero movies ever made. Now comes the third and supposedly final installment in the successful X-Men franchise. With Bryan Singer off directing Superman Returns, Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Red Dragon) has taken over directorial duties. However the entire cast, including Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman and mutant newcomer Kelsey Grammer are all suiting back up. May 26

Mission: Impossible III (trailer)
Ten years ago M:I-1 debuted, a muddled and clumsy film. Six years after that, John Woo tried to make the sequel into a Matrix clone and succeeded only in making the worst movie of the year. Now, Paramount hopes that the third time is a charm. They just might be right. J.J. Abrams makes his feature-film directorial debut, hoping to bring with him the same sort of intrigue and mystery he's infused into his television creations, "Alias" and "Lost." With Philip Seymour Hoffman as this installment's baddie, how can you go wrong?! May 5

The Good Shephard
The history and evolution of the CIA are seen through the eyes of one of its founding officers played by Matt Damon, and the toll his spy games took on his home life. Directed by Robert De Niro! Dec. 22

Running with Scissors (trailer)
A true story in the same way that James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces" is an authentic memoir, Running with Scissors tells the story of a young man, his bi-polar mother and the loony psychiatrist who adopts him. From the creator of TV's "Nip/Tuck." Sept. 22

Why We Fight (trailer)
A timely documentary, Why We Fight examines the economic, political and ideological forces that feed American militarism.

The Fountain (trailer)
It's been five years since Daren Aronofsky's made a film. Those who loved his wildly creative and skewed Pi and Requiem for a Dream finally have something to look forward to. Spanning over a thousand years and three parallel stories, The Fountain is a story of love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of existence.

The Painted Veil
After discovering that his wife is having an affair, a doctor, played by Edward Norton, moves his family to a remote village in 1920's China to fight an outbreak of cholera where, amid the suffering, their own healing can begin. Nov. 17

Water (trailer)
When her husband dies, an 8-year-old Indian girl (yes, you read that right) is sent to a temple for widows. However, her behavior sends ripples throughout the community, most notably affecting a woman who longs for a different life and has fallen for a follower of Mahatma Ghandi. Apr. 28

Untitled Sunshine Project
Danny Boyle makes great and varied films from the grimy Trainspotting to the frightening 28 Days Later to the heartwarming Millions. Now he heads into outer space with a mission to jump start a dying sun. I know, it sounds stupid, but let's trust him on this one, shall we? Oct. 13

Children of Men
The year is 2027 and humankind can no longer procreate. But when Jullian Moore miraculously becomes pregnant, Clive Owen agrees to help transport her to a sanctuary at sea where her child's birth may help scientists save the future. Mexican Alfonso CuarĂ³n (Y Tu Mama Tambien and the delicious Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) directs. Sept. 29

The Visiting
I sense a sci-fi theme coming on... German director Oliver Hirschbiegel made one of the best foreign language films of the year, Downfall, about the collapse of the Third Reich. Now he turns his attention to a big budget sci-fi reimagining of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Nicole Kidman and 007's Daniel Craig. Aug. 11

Apocalypto (trailer)
Love him or hate him, Mel Gibson is back with his first film since The Passion of The Christ. Set 600 years ago, prior to the 16th-century Spanish conquest of Mexico and Central America, a Mayan man must go on a perilous journey to save his idyllic world.

Night Watch (trailer)
I don't usually go in for horror, but this Russian sci-fi/horror/thriller hybrid that pits the forces of night against those of the day, looks too intriguing to pass up. Feb. 17

The Notorious Bettie Page (trailer)
Bettie Page, played by Gretchen Mol, becomes the world's sexiest pin-up girl in the 1950s. But her status as a sex icon also makes her the target of a Senate investigation. Apr. 14

Friends with Money (trailer)
After she quits her lucrative job, a suddenly-poor Jennifer Aniston finds herself unsure about her future relationships with her successful and wealthy friends. Apr. 7

Winter Passing (trailer)
Playwright Adam Rapp makes his feature film debut with a story about a woman who reunites with her estranged author father and his new oddball family. Zooey Deschanel, Ed Harris, and Will Ferrell star. Feb. 17

Stranger than Fiction
IRS auditor Will Ferrell suddenly finds his every thought and action narrated by a voice inside his head, telling him that events have been set in motion which will result in his imminent death. While director Marc Forster's Stay bombed, Finding Neverland was a dream. Come on back Marc. Nov. 10

For Your Consideration
Christopher Guest and company do what they do best--the mockumentary. This time they take aim at themselves, lampooning the Hollywood awards season. Sept. 22

World Trade Center
I include this one because it intrigues me, though I am still not sure what to think of it. Is the country ready for a 9/11 movie? Oliver Stone think so. Focusing his drama on the rescue of two police officers trapped in the rubble of one of the collapsed towers, Stone looks to save his reputation from the abominable Alexander with something no less divisive. Aug. 11

Flight 93 (trailer)
Stone isn't the only one hoping that 9/11 films can be cathartic. Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy), presents a real time account of the events on United Flight 93, when passengers foiled the terrorist plot and forced the jetliner into the ground near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Apr. 28

Find Me Guilty (trailer)
Sidney Lumet's film is based on the longest Mafia trial in U.S. history. Mobster Jack DiNorscio decides to stand trial instead of ratting out his family and associates. He also opts to defend himself. Vin Diesel stars as DiNorscio in a role that hopefully reminds us and him that there is a talented actor there beneath all of the stool-sampling of films in his library. Mar. 17

Inside Man (trailer)
This is a Spike Lee joint!? Sure enough. Clive Owen is a bank robber playing a game of cat-and-mouse with Densel Washington and Jodie Foster. Mar. 24

Lonesome Jim (trailer)
Unable to make it on his own, twenty-something Casey Affleck decides to move back home to Indiana. Slowly, begrudgingly, he finds ways to connect with his family and, ultimately, himself. Directed by everybody's favorite NYC firefighter turned creepy actor, Steve Buscemi. Mar. 24

Lucky Number Slevin
A case of mistaken identity lands Josh Hartnett in the middle of a murder being plotted by one of New York City's biggest crime bosses, Ben Kingsley. Bruce Willis, Lucy Liu, and Stanley Tucci also star. Mar. 31

Art School Confidential
When an untalented art school student is accused of murder, he discovers that the crime might actually bring him the fame he desires. Apr. 28

Nacho Libre (trailer)
In order to save an orphanage from closure, a priest, Jack Black (!) dons a mask and tights and moonlights as a wrestler! Finally Black is back where he belongs instead of playing around with big monkeys. This one's from the director of the hilarious Napoleon Dynamite. June 2

Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny
Anyone who knows me knows that comedy is not really my thing. But that Jack Black, he I find very funny. And to finally see our favorite cult rock band hit the big screen should be good clean, er, fun. Nov. 17

The Second Chance (trailer)
Two pastors from vastly different backgrounds must find a way to work together in this indie Christian drama that has a good message. But does it have good production values? Starring Michael W. Smith. Feb. 17

Cars (trailer)
Has Pixar made a bad movie yet? With a list of luminescent films to their credit including Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, Cars is the story of Lightning McQueen, a hot-shot stock-car voiced by Owen Wilson. According to Disney, "en route to a big race, the cocky McQueen gets waylaid in Radiator Springs, where he finds the true meaning of friendship and family." Paul Newman, Cheech Marin, John Ratzenberger and Larry the Cable Guy also add their voice talents. June 9

6 Comments:

Blogger Reacher said...

So, basically you are excited about EVERY MOVIE that will be released in '06!

9:19 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

The only film coming out in 2006 that didn't make your list is "The Splendiferous Zeppelin Escapades of Filliam H Muffman".

3:25 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Ahhhhhh, shud up, both of ya! I'm a public servent providing a needed service.

Besides, "The Splendiferous Zeppelin Escapades of Filliam H. Muffman" is technically a 2005 release. You're thinking of the sequal Jonathan, "The Delicious Missadventures of Wilber Q. Merrybottom and his Bitchin Timemachine."

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

The only thing mythical about Bryce Dallas Howard is her acting abilities.
Ha! You see that? I got my own Hollywood friggin' Minute over here.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Kari said...

Ok I missed this update somehow...and ya'll crack me up! Brandon, YOU are makin me miss the good ol' days when, we'd not only see EVERY one of them, but we'd see them TOGETHER and then I'd sit for hours and days hoping no one asked if you've seen that one movie...LOL Just kidding! You are one of the few ppl who gets the same joy from movies as I do. Sadly, due to lack of babysitters, the films I see these days are typically short, animated, small-screen phenomena such as JoJo's Circus and The Doodlebops!

My New Year's resolution a few weeks late...to go to the movies this year!

1:39 PM  
Blogger RC said...

Some of these are definitly not on my list...

I think I'm most excited to see Tsoti, Lady in the Water and Flags of our Fathers.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

5:33 PM  

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