Media Morgue's 2007 Year End Movie Guide

November is the official start of the holiday movie season. That special time of the year when Hollywood pulls out all the stops to convince millions of people to drop hard earned cash, file into darkened theaters and watch movies instead of actually talking one another. Its also the time of year when the movie industry starts cranking out the films they hope will be remembered at Oscar time.

Last year, my resident film critic J Jammer and I reviewed 23 of the films being released for the end of the 2006 year. This year, we up the ante and double our efforts to bring you our exhaustive (exhausting?) opinion on FOURTY SEVEN of the films that are scheduled to be released between November 2nd and January 4, 2008.

And of course, this isn't every film being released. Just the ones we hand picked to review.

Note: Clicking on the title of the film will take you to either the film's official site, or if the site is not up yet, the IMDB page.

Enjoy:

Friday November 2, 2007


American Gangster –

JJ: They’ve over played this one too much and I don’t want to see it. I might alter my thinking before it comes out just because I am a Movie Critic and seeing movies that are going to be popular to give my opinion is a good thing….but seeing Mr. Washington in another bad man role is just plane bleh and gangster movies bore me. They are all the same…do what I say or my men will kill those you love…oh and musn’t forget the blood and the bullets---in that order.

Judge: This one is definitely on my "Must watch" list. There is so much to love about this story. Denzel is Frank Lucas - a self-made man who made a name for himself out of nothing and became a huge drug kingpin in the 70's. Russel Crowe plays an honest cop (imagine that!) who works to bring the kingpin down. Sure the storyline has been done before (even though its based on a true story) and some of the characters are rather two dimensional (some of the characters were inspired by "Serpico" and "Prince of the City") but despite this, I think the casting, the directing (Ridley Scott) and the script are all going to combine to be a hell of a gangster movie that might actually be different than what we are used to seeing. I could be wrong, but I think this one could go all the way. Just a hunch.

Bee Movie –

JJ: Apparently NBC has been showing it over and over again. Good thing I don’t watch that channel at all. None of the shows I like are on that channel. So I only can go off of what I know and what I know is it’s a cartoon movie about a bee staring Jerry Seinfeld. I plan on seeing it just because I’m a kid at heart. Awww…..I just won’t watch NBC cause saturation is irritation.

Judge: An animation with Jerry Sienfield as the main characer. WHAT...is UP...with THAT? I'll wait for this one to be on HBO.

Darfur Now –

JJ: Looks interesting. I do not read lots of news on the situation there and what I do read is disturbing so I’m not well versed in it so a movie about it might give me insight to something smart to say about the situation. Or not.

Judge: How about a little genocide with your turkey? Don Cheadle has done a lot to raise awareness of atrocities around the world, but will this heavy-handed heartstring puller work in the Holiday box office? Personal opinon: No way. The holidays are usually depressing enough. I dont need to see anything to make it worse.

The Kite Runner

JJ: Aside from seeing the books in Starbucks I know nothing of this movie. So I read what it’s about and it looks like a tear jerker for those that cry during such dramatic tales of people who do touching things. It’s based in Afghanistan so I am going to see it for the story and the fact that it’ll give me a different perspective of the country than what is on the news 24/7.

Judge: I know nothing about this movie other than the breif info thats posted on IMDB. I cant say it compells me to run out and watch it, but because it appears to be a foreign film, I am sure the Oscar people will be sporting chubbies about it in no time.

Martian Child

JJ: Another tear jerker for those that are looking forward to crying. It has the Cusack siblings in it. A boy thinks he’s from Mars and starts convincing people he is even his adopted father. I like Mars so for that fact alone I’ll be seeing this movie and I also like Joan Cusack but remember she’s only the second reason for me wanting to see this movie…and of course the crying possibility is DEAD LAST!

Judge: Whats up with all the depressing movies? No No NO!

Friday November 9, 2007

Fred Claus

JJ: *sigh*. Silly movie. Silly actors in a silly movie. If one expects some sort of epic laugh riot---you should just forget it. It’s a child’s fare but that doesn’t mean it can’t get adults to laugh…though the adults will be lured by the actors who are going to have nice clean mouths than they usually do in their normal movies. It’s going to be a heart touching Holiday Christmas moment….remember to bring your tissue to dab your eyes of snowflake tears and sugar snot. I’m going to see it….but only because it’s most likely going to be number one that weekend…kids rule the house.

Judge: Ugh. Another silly Christmas comedy with the bonus being that we get to watch Paul Giamatti slide further and further away from the Oscar he should have already won. Next.

I Could Never Be Your Woman

JJ: Tracey Ullman is in this movie. She’s been dusted off…the concept is over done but the actors might make the movie well worth seeing. Though seeing might be difficult since it is a limited release. That might be AWWW or YES…depending on how unclich├ęd they decided to make this movie.

Judge: Nothing like a good sapy romantic comedy to keep all the housewives hopeful that love still exists. Ullman will carry this film. Michelle Pfeiffer needs to hang it up. Bauer Martinez studio also gets the prize for the least creative poster I've seen to date.

Lions for Lambs

JJ: Three famous people who can hold a movie on their own end up being in a movie that just happens to mimic what America happens to be going through right now…it’s political puke. I hate movies like that---that focus on the views of the director to force it down the viewers throats that war is evil and that those who sit at desks are eviler. Well duh. I will most likely see it…though I tend to find such movies directed by Robert Redford to be boring.

Judge: Political action movie that illustrates how screwed up our government is. Sounds like this one will be popular. Are witty, elder teachers the only thing that Redford can play anymore? And its good to see Tom Cruise playing more characters that people dislike. Its more fitting to his current personality anyway. Xenu save us all!

National Lampoon Presents Electric Apricot

JJ: A copy and a blend of different movies just doesn’t appeal to me. I think the mockumentary is just a tad over done and just because it continues to be about music in no way makes it any better. Seth Green is in this one and that is the only odd bright spot for me.

Judge: You lost me at “National Lampoon.” Next.

P2

JJ: Who hasn’t been scared of a parking garage that some attendant will want to split you open and spill your insides all over? I know I have. This movie is SO what the ‘I’m scared of everything in the world’ type person ordered. I’m not one of those people but I still believe I’ll see it considering what else opens this weekend.

Judge: Psycho thrillers always work well, but never really dominate the box office. This one seems like its going to go nowhere. Now what level did I park on again? Oh yeah, that's right: the bottom.

Wednesday November 14, 2007

Southland Tales

JJ:A sci-fi thriller that has an ensemble cast. I’d mention them but I think that might just downgrade the movie. So the idea is interesting…destruction of L.A. I mean that’s my least favorite city I’ve ever visited so this movie is all the rave now. Nothing as cool as city wide destruction---especially L.A.

Judge: The destruction of Los Angeles and Sara Michelle Gellar as a porn star? I'm there! This is the LONG awaited follow-up to Richard Kelly's "Donnie Darko." Wired has a great interview with Kelly about the film. It sounds intriguing.

Friday November 16, 2007

Beowulf

JJ:T here are SO many freakin’ movies about this story this is just another one to add to the pile. What makes it different is how it is to be shown and the fact that the studio states it’s ‘different’. We all know that if a studio says it is then OMG it is….I saw the trailer the first time and it made me roll my eyes because I just saw a Beofwulf movie and it was good. Why do they beat dead horses?

Judge: The computer animation looks fantastic. We are finally at the point where CGI looks photo-realistic. If you can call Angelina Jolie naked painted gold and a serpent tail realistic. There may have been a few movies about the story of Beowulf over the years (like this year) but this one looks like it might actually be good. At least I hope so. The story is epic. My only gripe is that whoever manages Paramount's site has absolutely no communication with the media and I have not been getting any updates from about this one. Die evil IT people. DIE!

Love in Time of Cholera

JJ: A man that waits forever to get a girl he loves. The tired tale is every bit as tiring to read a synopsis about as it is to probably watch it. I most likely will not see it seeing how two BIGGER movies opening this weekend.

Judge: I'm told that this was a great book (if Oprah says it is, it shoots to the top of the bestseller list that same day). Its supposed to be about a 50 year love triangle, so its only a question of how well they can interpret the story and how the actors work together.


Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

JJ – A magical toy store is handed over to a young woman and then it starts changing. It’s a silly idea but something that has not been told and therefore a bit exciting. I’m mildly excited to see this one. Feel good movie----something that seems to be arriving less and less at the theater.

Judge: As much as he wants to believe, Zach Helm (Stranger than Fiction) is no Roald Dahl. This is his pet project and it looks like a rip-off of Willy Wonka. Im not sure how this one is going to do.


Wednesday November 21, 2007

August Rush

JJ: This is the ONLY movie this holiday season I am looking forward to. I cannot explain why I’m so egar to see it but when I first saw the trailer I just wanted to see it RIGHT THEN…and was sad that it was three months away. There’s just something hopeful about it. My draw to the movie is also the following: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell and Terrence Howard.

Judge: Boy prodigy meets girl prodigy. Boy prodigy looses girl prodigy. Somewhere along the way Robin Williams gets involved. People will laugh, people will cry, blah blah blah.

Christmas in Wonderland

JJ: Uh…no. Patrick Sneezy is not someone that should be in a movie….and I’m sad to see that Tim Curry has dipped into the slime bucket of a Sneezy movie. Sleazy could work as well….interchangeable. I’m so not seeing this. I feel sorry for the parents that’ll be dragged to this Christmas in Whoreland.

Judge: its a kids movie, so out of the gate its going to suck eggs. Is this the only thing Swayze can do nowadays? Pass.

Enchanted –

JJ: If a parent is to be dragged to a movie they should hope to be dragged to this Disney mocking fest….which could be funny since Disney is doing the mocking of them selves. Plus mothers will have McDreamy to look at and get to see, yet again, James Marsden not get the girl. Soon to be a long running joke.

Judge: This is a rubber stamp of a movie from the Mouse house. This plot has been done a thousand times before. (See, "Ella Enchanted" for an example) I don't care if its Disney. Its going to suck.


Hitman
JJ: Video game to movie. Though this one very well might just work as a movie since, you know, video games are now known for their cinematic moments. I’m sure it’s just a B movie but one that will bring in the cash just like the studio hopes. Those video game nerds complain about video game movies and yet what do they do? They still go and see them…just so they can complain about them. But they pay to see them and that is why studios keep on making them.

Judge: This movie is becoming a headache for FOX, with rumors that director Xavier Gens was fired for making the film way too bloody. These rumors were false and FOX now claims that the movie will be released as a "Hard R." In other words, its still freaking bloody, but not enough to warrant an NC-17 which would kill its box office take. Will it be any good? Who cares? It will make a boat load of cash on its opening weekend from the gamer geeks. After that, expect it to die quickly.

Steven King’s The Mist

JJ: Movies that have a preemptive name are annoying. Tyler Perry comes to mind. It totally turns me off from wanting to see the movie. Why the hell should the title be infiltrated by their name? Does it really matter? Apparently to someone and since I’m not that someone they will continue to do this stupid thing and I will continue not to see movies with such stupid titles.

Judge: They are using Steven Kings name to help sell the movie. Not a good sign, since we know King can crank out crap just as well as he cranks out decent books.

This Christmas

JJ: I like the spirit of family movies and black families are pretty funny. I know some. I will most likely see this movie just to see if the message is as heartwarming as the synopsis tries to make it seem. The trailer made me laugh. I’m easily persuaded with movies about family yayness….which does rhyme with another word that someone very well could say about my infatuation with such joy. But OH WELL.

Judge: Pandering to a target demographic is a terrible way to hype a movie. Can it stand on its own legs despite the family being African American? I don't think so.


Friday November 23, 2007

---nothing—

JJ: Which is funny….considering the last weekend had a slew of movies…some of them could have just skipped to this weekend. Um…like This Christmas that way they are a whole week closer to the day that the title steals from.

Judge: Perhaps they are hoping that the strength of the previous films would carry them through the thanksgiving weekend. Not sure what the strategy is with this one, but we'll see how much of a draw the box office gets this year.

Friday November 30, 2007

Awake –

JJ: Interesting concept with this movie. To be awake but not able to speak and only be aware of what is going on would be so annoying and as the movie type dictates….thrilling. Hayden Christensen is back….been a while since he’s been in anything and Jessica Alba needs a movie that can bring her back from the blow hard movie that was Chuck Sucks. I’m sorry….Good Luck Chuck. And the icing on the cake is Terrence Howard---he is most awesome and gets better every movie I see him in. I’m a go for this---disappointment is surely close by.

Judge: The idea of being awake and aware of your surroundings during an open heart surgery is terrifying. However I imagine it's only slightly worse than sitting in a theater and watching this movie. Alba is trying to break out of her cheesecake roles and play a serious part. I dont think she can do it.

Dead Air –

JJ: Ooh a Zombie movie…I’m a sucker for these so I most likely will venture to see it only to be gravely disappointed by the unnecessary blood shed. Just like 28 Weeks Later. Zombies are cool and there is hope that this will be. Just not much.

Judge: Not to be confused with the 2002 movie with the same title. Or the one in 1999. Or the one in 1997, or the one in 1994... Im not a big fan of zombie movies, so unless I am really, REALLY bored and have nothing better to do, I'll probably skip this one.


Wednesday December 5, 2007

Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding

JJ: Sounds fun. It’s a movie about a wedding that cannot get off on the right foot because everyone is trying to control it or tell the couple what they should do. Poor couple. I’m sure the female will blow a gasket and everyone will wonder why is she so upset…they are only trying to help. It has me interested just enough to waste my time to see it.

Judge: Didnt this movie come out three years ago? Actually, yes it did. So are they re-releasing it wide or what? Variety seems to be the only review of the film from 2004, and they seemed to like it, so maybe it will be good. I dunno.


Friday December 7, 2007

Atonement

JJ: Jealous whores are the worst and this movie is a total depress you type movie and I don’t think I care to see one of those. There better be some awesome buzz around this before it comes out or I’m just going to skip it and become depressed naturally….by looking at my unpaid bills.

Judge: We've talked about this one in the past. What with the director forgetting he's not directing a porno and James McAvoy's sweaty and uncomfortable sex with Keira Knightly, I wonder just how good the movie actually is.

The Golden Compass

JJ: There is already controversy over this movie because it’s supposedly bashes Christians. Easy target…those Christians. I’ll be more shocked when a movie comes out that bashes Muslims. Beside that lovely tidbit of info I find this movie annoying because they continue to show previews for it and it’s becoming ANNOYING. So much so that I almost care not to see it. But it’s going to be a big one so I’m going to force myself to endure it’s pandering to the masses with it’s hate (if it truly is hateful towards Christians as some state about the movie and the book it’s based off of).

Judge: some of my co-workers are really excited about this one, but the buzz is that its not good. The plot summary sounds strong, so perhaps it has what it takes to be a true adventure movie that keeps audiences interested. Of course, if it bashes Christians around Christmas, its got some serious "cojones" that may end up hurting it with the box office totals.

Grace is Gone

JJ:Touching story. Grab tissues because nothing could make someone feel pain of sorrow than a man who has to explain death of his wife to kids. It’s normal that most children don’t see their father cry often and when he does it hurts more so than anyone else crying. Plus John Cusack is in it….woohoo.

Judge: Its already getting strong reviews from rotten tomatoes, so my guess is that this might be the strong one of the season.

Wednesday December 12, 2007


Nanking --

JJ: Another documentary on WWII but this one is about Japan in China and Westerners saving them and how China forgets that and wants to beat the living hell out of America. Oh I’m sorry the last bit isn’t true….until now. It sounds interesting and I do love stories about WWII…who doesn’t? Who can’t get enough of a war that just doesn’t shut up? Actually I am interested because I don’t know a lot about Japan picking on China so it ought to be educational. I hope.

Judge: Strange to release this one around Christmas. Is this an attempt to keep the movie fresh in people's minds when it comes time to vote for Oscars? Probably. My guess is that no one will see it, but it will be nominated and probably win the Academy Award. I literally know NOTHING about the film, but the strategy for the film sounds strong. We'll see how it does.

The Perfect Holiday –

JJ: Mommy doesn’t have a boyfriend and so one of her children ask who? Who would you ask? That’s right SANTA….he’s my first choice too. Terrence Howard is in this movie….but I don’t think he could drag my brain to be tortured in a movie like this. Sappy comes to mind.

Judge: Sappy is a word. So is saccharine, cheezy, silly, contrived, and downright stupid. Terence, what are you THINKING, man?

Friday December 14, 2007

Alvin and the Chipmunks

JJ: Oh the trailers to this movie are so stupid. But I grew up watching them sing and dance with their sped up voices singing here and there and everywhere. So without getting too much into it I’m just going to settle with they snagged me and I’m going to see it. I’m a loser for wanting to see it but a loser who’ll be in total awe of the past. Maybe.

Judge: Oh good lord. CGI chipmunks. Terrific. The only reason why this movie exists is for the nostalgia factor it has with everyone from the 50's to the present. No thanks. I'd rather just speed up "White Christmas" and get drunk.

I am Legend

JJ: Will Smith movie. This title reminds me of I, Robot. Maybe it has everything to do with the “I” or the fact that Will Smith is in it again to save the world? Meh. Is he a one trick pony? I hope not. I do like him but this movie just doesn’t make me YAY at all. It also reminds me of 28 Days Later with terms like infected. If it makes tons of money I hope the studios forgo making a second one that will only pale in comparison. I am Legend OMG Again! (28 Weeks Later) LOL!

Judge: Wasn't this a Twilight Zone episode? OK, so its a twilight zone episode with Will Smith and a gajillion dollar budget. And its out just before the big Christmas rush. How wonderful. Still, Im interested in the story, so I will be seeing this one.

Look

JJ: I love social stories and this one looks (har har) like a good one. Surveillance cameras---BIG BROTHER---telling a story? Oh I’m very much interested because I’m such a voyWHORE.

Judge: "Americans are captured on surveillance cameras at least 170 times a day mostly without their knowledge. This produces millions of hours of footage revealing the nature of those hidden secrets. " OK, but do I want to see a movie based on that footage thats only going to help reinforce the fact that I cant stand the current state of our fear-driven, fascist society? Not really.

Wednesday December 19, 2007

Flakes

JJ: HAHAHAHAHAHA…….Read the synopsis and you’ll be like WHAT? Oh I’m looking forward to this one and how they make it work. It’s a comedy and very awesome idea at that. I’m laughing and I haven’t even seen a trailer.

Judge: it seems silly, which might work for it. Im interested. Count me in.


Friday December 21, 2007

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

JJ: It’s a second to the first so yeah I’m seeing it. I liked the first one…..there’s not much more to say to this other than good for Nick for finding something that was not going to put him in the Patrick Sleazy category.

Judge: Leave you mind at the box office, your wallet at the concession stand and you MIGHT enjoy this one. This gets my vote for the dumbest idea for a sequel. I'll be waiting for this one on pay per view, provided I dont have to wash my cat or anything.


P.S. I love you

JJ: Nice cast. Interesting concept about letters being littered everywhere for a woman to find herself via her dead significant other. I like the idea and it’s a new twist on an old story so I’m going to be seeing this one.

Judge: Its a cute and sappy romantic comedy. Definitely a date movie. A good chick flick can be fun from time to time.

Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

JJ: Johnny Depp and Tim Burton combo. WOOHOO….excitement and it’s a morbid musical…what more could you ask for? I like this musical. So if you haven’t guessed…I’m SO SEEING IT!

Judge: Nothing says Christmas quite like a vengeful singing barber that chops up his enemies and bakes them into pies. Yummy! More mincemeat, please!

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

JJ: How not original this is. It almost looks like a total rehash of the Ricky Bobby story which changed names right before it was released…or something like that. I don’t know if I can endure another look at me I’m stupid/ laugh because I’m acting stupid movie.

Judge: the poster for this one cracks me up every time. But just because I chuckle at the poster doesn't mean I am going to see the film. JJ said it best. I have no interest in this one at all.

Tuesday December 25, 2007

The Bucket List --

JJ: Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman a great combo that has yet to be tried until now. I’m looking forward to this one. Nothing like people who are about to die doing what they should have done but didn’t because the urgency was not there. I’m excited for this one.

Judge: Sounds kind of like one of those "make you laugh, make you cry" kind of flicks. And it opens on Christmas Day. Possibly a good one to take your parrents to. Most-likely heartwarming and filled with all that "good cheer" crap greeting card companies love to shove down your throat.

Charlie Wilson’s War

JJ: Interesting story that I did not know about. I am looking forward to this. I mean look at this: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Phillip Seymour Hoffman---if they use them to their full potential then this movie very well could be worth the effort of sitting.

Judge: Yup, another heartstring puller. Great ensemble cast, so its probably going to be a big hit. But can it beat Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman?

The Great Debaters

JJ: Oh yay Black vs White movie. Nothing more inspiring than that and look at this…it stars Mr. Washington. How uninspiring is that? I’m sick and tired of these vapid story ideas. I’ll probably see it….but then again…I do have two other movies to see this weekend.

Judge: actually, its also directed by Denzel, and is about debate. A lovely topic to discuss on a big religious holiday. Im predicting that this one will place third or fourth in the box office race for this holiday.

Persepolis

JJ: Animated drama….I’m not sold on this story and certainly not sold on it just because it has Sean Penn in it. I’m even more apt not to see it because of him. He’s become very dreary for no reason other than to take himself too seriously. He bores me and his choice in movies bores me.

Judge: I'll be surprised if this one breaks the top ten. Sony Pictures Classic is not known for cranking out epic draws at the box office. The fact that its animated is going to be off-putting to a few demographics, also.

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

JJ: Oooh a child’s movie. I’m thrilled to the bone about this….not really. It looks very…childish and I surely won’t waste my time on it. I’m glad I don’t have kids.

Judge: Yawn. Wake me when its over.

Wednesday December 26, 2007

Aliens vs Predator – Requiem --

JJ: *sigh* I don’t know. I do know they are milking this for all it’s worth…..like Saw XXX.

Judge: If I had to choose between watching this one and getting a root canal... wait, can I take nitrous with the movie? That might work. Nevermind. I'll go see it on those grounds.

Friday December 28, 2007

The Orphanage

JJ: Horror movie….a big fat NO from me.

Judge: its not saying much when the best user comment on IMDB is "Pretty good." Im passing on this one.

Honeydripper

JJ: Save the club in one night……fun sounding? If not skip this one.

Judge: Another wanna-be Oscar contender. Not really interested in this one.

Cassandra’s Dream

JJ: Love pits brother against brother----how…unoriginal and not so interesting.

Judge: Wait, its Woody Allen! He's got the Midas touch, right? OH? OK, maybe this will suck, then. Woody hasnt really hit the mark in a while. He's due for a hit. This might do it. I dont know. Its a good cast (Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell) so we'll see.

Venetian Affair --

JJ: Let’s see…it’s about C.I.A. Agent….and unknown…unknown and UNKNOWN…..that’s a lot of unknowns about a movie that’s opening in two months.

Judge: Another political drama. Is Hollywood trying to tell us something?

Friday January 4, 2007

Midnight Meat Train

JJ: Oh the fun in killing people on a subway just to pass the time. The question is do I have no life just to sit for couple of hours to watch this film….to pass the time? I do have no life but I’m not so sure that I’m that pathetic to waste my time on this.

Judge: Based on Clive Barker's short story. I think that audiences are probably really tired of the hunting down a serial killer concept. My guess is that this one will go absolutely nowhere.

Summary

JJ: This Holiday Season is a complete bore. There are maybe 5 good movies and then some okay movies and a whole bunch of fillers. Hollywood is just sucking hardcore right about now and with the writer’s strike coming up it’s only going to get worse.

Judge: Sadly, I have to agree. If questioned, I cant think of more than three movies I actually want to see. Sweeney Todd, American Gangster and I am Legend. Other than that, its all tripe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you two haven't read Richard Matheson's "I am Legend", then surely you've watched "Omega Man" or "The Last Man on Earth." Hell, "28 Days Later" (and just about any man vs. world of monsters movie) basically steals the plot of the book, which is an absolute classic and highly rated by any horror or sci-fi aficiando. I just hope this version actually does it justice.

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