Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Johnny Galecki, Matthew Bomer
Andrew Niccol is known among science fiction fans as the creator of one of the ‘90s must iconic efforts, Gattaca. That future shock story of genetic perfection versus human frailties continues to resonate in a world where image is slowly becoming more than everything. Now, some 14 years later, Niccol is back braving the new world with an allegory about immortality and the commodity of time. With Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, and Cillian Murphy among the cast, and an idea that plays perfectly into our contemporary obsession with age and physical perfection, it sounds like another winner. We can only hope.
The Rum Diary
Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi, Richard Jenkins, Bill Smitrovich, Julian Holloway
The Rum Diary
As part of his long running friendship with the late, great gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, super hot superstar Johnny Depp longed to make a movie out of this ‘long lost’ novel. Written in the late ‘50s, it wasn’t published until the late ‘80s, decades after the controversial writer had established his genre busting credentials. Those hoping for a sort-of sequel to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas will be less than impressed. On the plus side, everyone’s favorite cult filmmaker, Bruce Robinson, is back behind the lens, more than 19 years after Jennifer 8 and nearly 35 since his heralded comedy Withnail and I.
Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Xavier Samuel, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall
So, what is director Roland Emmerich going to destroy this time? He’s already leveled the planet—twice—and had aliens take out a substantial portion of our cultural icons. So, what indeed is there left to obliterate? Well, how about Shakespeare’s reputation. This weird amalgamation of period piece intrigue and literary mystery sees the Tudors and the Cecils fighting over the crown while Edward De Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (Ifans) is begged as the true author of the world’s most famous collection of classics. It sounds preposterous and overreaching, but then again, Emmerich is an expert at such stylistic positions. Color us intrigued.
Johnny English Reborn
Rowan Atkinson, Gillian Anderson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West, Daniel Kaluuya, Richard Schiff
Johnny English Reborn
Rowan Atkinson consistently comes across in both interviews and individual comedy routine as smart, savvy, and very, very serious. So it’s with a great deal of displeasure that he is stuck, once again, in a low brow formulaic film where the funny business is dumb and derivative. This is Blackadder; he deserves better. Yet foreign audiences, an increasingly important aspect of any studio’s overall marketing plan, loves it when Atkinson plays the fool. So, along with a wholly unnecessary series of Mr. Bean movies (never as good as the TV show that spawned them), we wind up with this. The terrible trailer says it all.
Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, Chris Sarandon, Robert John Burke, Reggie Lee, Danny Hoch
Luckily, this is not a remake of the Todd Haynes drama starring Julianne Moore as a woman being slowly ‘poisoned’ by the various products (hairspray, air freshener) of the modern world, though it would be interesting to see what star Jason Statham could do with such a premise. Instead, this is another amped up action film from the UK stud, this time centering around an elite spy out to rescue a 12-year-old Chinese girl from the various lawful and illegal elements in NYC. While it sounds promising, one look at the individual (Boaz Yakin—ouch) behind both the script and the scenarios is cause for concern.
Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Ewen Leslie, Michael Dorman, Mirrah Foulkes
No this is not the famous fairy tale, although the premise (a young escort is allowed to be “put to sleep” so that dirty old men can have their erotic way with her) derives from the noted bedtime story. Apparently, the biggest problem facing this film isn’t the graphic sexual content or copious nudity. No, many critics and messageboard pundits have complained about the casting (they can’t seen Australian actress Emily Browning in the title role) and the less than spectacular work of first time director/novelist Julia Leigh. Clearly close to the material—she wrote the screenplay—her lack of vision undermines the film’s viability.
Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston
Winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival usually guarantees a certain level of quality. Past winners include the incredible Winter’s Bone, the abrasive Precious, the fascinating Frozen River, and serious sci-fi examination Primer. While success is not always a give (there are dozens of titles that make a similar splash at said festival and then… nothing), there is a certain creative bankability that derives from the recognition. So this movie about a long term relationship may indeed be something special. It could also be a early Awards season struggle to reach beyond a dedicated indie audience.