Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Christian Bale talks about "Batman 3"


Source: Nukethefridge.com

Totalfilm had an interview with Christian Bale and he had a few things to say about 'Batman 3'. 

"Will we do a third movie? It's got to be the right story. You can't make something like The Dark Knight and then come out with something disappointing. 

"I would like it if people say, 'You'll never make a good third movie.' I say, 'OK, let's make a third movie in that case, let's prove them wrong. But that's just me. The fact is, I have to! I've signed up! Chris doesn't. So I'm in a bit of a fix if he says he doesn't want to!" 

“It's got to be the right story” is what stands out the most to me. Nice to see that Bale is NOT just out to get paid.

Two test screening reviews for "The Lovely Bones"


Source: Ainitcoolnews.com


Oh sure, this is my first time... The movie was BETTER than I expected, and that's saying a lot because it's Peter Jackson... First the movie on a whole made me feel wonderful, which I didn't expect with such a dark premise, but Pete and crew are amazing with that kind of stuff. They tell you in the beginning what's going to happen, even so, there are parts that make you grip your chair with anticipation, or cringe with disgust even though you knew it was coming, and then the stuff you weren't prepared for, well it just blows you away.

All the performances were fantastic, all the characters emotions felt so real, which I think is difficult with this kind of subject matter, no one can imagine this sort of thing happening to them. But Suzy Salmon, the main character, is superb. This character needed a strong actress and she shines through the whole movie, it's her that pulls you in a makes you care. You instantly feel for all the characters, even the bad one, which is strange...

And the effects, which I would say hit about 25-30 minutes in, but I was so enthralled it's hard to say. But once the effects hit they are there apart of the movie and it feels so right. I didn't know what to expect of "heaven" but once you saw it you knew that's exactly what it was supposed to look like. It's actually like you get the pay off of the movie in the beginning, but it last the whole movie. While I was watching, there were moments that would make think of a different movie, which isn't necessarily a good thing, but every time I thought that, I'd immediately note how this movie has done it 10 times better.

I know you want more details on "heaven", but it really should be a surprise, but I'd say, and I'm no expert, but it seems all the effects are CG, no "physical" effects from what I could tell. When you were in "heaven" with Suzy it seemed real, and then something entirely impossible and beautiful, or scary would happened and you'd be reminded it wasn't reality. I'd say the whole movie had a slightly "other world" look to it, and a variety of camera work of the likes I don't think I've seen from Pete.

This movie is definitely more in the vein of Heavenly Creatures which we expected, but this has something more, a new movie and style for Pete Jackson and I love it. I think the less you know the better, but anyway you see it, you're in for a real treat this December (hopefully).

Love to The Geeks,

-LongLiveRock-

Now the below review is certainly not as positive as the above review. It reads a tad on the snarky side to me, but the below review is just as valid a view-point as the above. I will say that it sounds as if the source material itself wasn't up this person's alley as many of their complaints stem from the novel. The only area of concern for me personally is the talk about Jackson's camerawork and editing being jarring. I hope that's not the case... it's definitely not Jackson's M.O.

Anyway, here's the second review, the other side of the coin:

Dear Aint-It-Cool,

Last night I saw a test screening of Lovely Bones. It was said to be a work in progress with missing effects shots and the editing process was still ongoing. I don't know, I didn't see any scenes where there was obviously a CGI monster missing or anything. There were a few effect shots that didn't look finished and a bunch of spots that could use some color correction. But I usually feel that way walking out of a finished movie and this wasn't any more so. I know the score is usually one of the last elements to be added but I'm under the impression this was the Brian Eno score and not a temp.

The story is about a bright and sensitive preteen girl (Saoirse Ronan) who loves photography; then she gets savagely murdered by a child abductor. She is consequently taken to a magical afterlife of imaginative wonder while her family is torn apart by overwrought drama. And they also are trying to find her killer. The same killer whose identity we learned an hour ago.

This child abductor character was played by Stanly Tucci who I did not recognize and literally looked like he was dressed as a child molester for Halloween. He had a child molester mustache, a child molester hairline, child molester glasses, and he spoke with a child molester speech impediment. If he were a pirate he'd have an eye patch and three peg legs.

There's a line when Ronan's character is exploring this fantastical new afterlife of wonder and she decides it's not quite heaven and not quite the world of the living "but a little bit of both". That's the film's issue in a nut shell. It's two completely different things and they go together about as poorly as possible. The editing and camera work are jarring, blunt and clumsy. I've never seen Jackson (He's the director so I shoulda mentioned him by now) work like this, he keeps yanking me out of the scene and I hate it. There's lots of cross cutting between the two settings; the girl is lost in a forest of butterfly wings meanwhile her dad (Mark Wahlberg who I haven't mentioned) has a nervous breakdown and screams at his wife (a very unlikable Rachel Weisz) until they both cry. C'mon, I'm trying to escape to a world of magic here.

Apparently they're aiming for a pg-13 , that's baffling. Lovely Bones is like a PG film and an R forced together in a shot gun wedding. I could see young girls really loving parts of this movie. Too bad the other parts are about a young girl being abducted and murdered. Might be kind of a tough sell.

This cut had all these parts that don't fit. Why is Susan Sarandon in this movie? Why does the film turn into Rear Window at the 11th hour? Why does the murdered girl have an Asian sidekick in the afterlife?

That's about as far as I'm willing to go in ripping this unfinished film. I definitely see how this is a work in transition and I hope this cut is like the missing link to the good film they end up making. There's emotionally effective bits, impressive visual accomplishments and Saoirse Ronan is quite good in the lead (except it stops being the lead half way through). They need to pick a direction, dial down the shrieking sound design they use to cover up the absence of suspense and tone down the heavy handed camera work and editing. If they address all those issues in a final cut I'd definitely be interested in giving this film another look.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Michael Caine joins Nolan's "Inception" (2010)


Source: The HDRoom

Another big name has joined Chris Nolan's Inception only this one's appearance will be relatively brief.

While chatting with Michale Caine about his newmovie Is Anybody There?, InContention.comconfirmed with Michael that he has secured a "little part" in Inception.

"I have a little part in it, yes. Just a tiny part. Chris and I are very good friends so I'll do that little part. I think I'll work about three days. It'll be extraordinary, wait until you see this one. I think if I say another word he's going to kill me!"

So aside from Inception's only descriptive words being "a contemporary sci-fi actioner set within the architecture of the mind," we have a living cinematic god saying the movie will be "extraordinary." Can we find out what this movie is about already? The suspense is starting to kill me.

In case you missed earlier Inception casting news, Caine is joins Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (replacing James Franco who bailed due to an overloaded calendar), Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, and youthful Ellen Page.

3 new TV spots for "Terminator: Salvation"

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More new pictures from "The Lovely Bones"




Quick thoughts on "The Great Buck Howard"


  • Colin Hanks has an extremely likeable screen presence, just like his father.
  • Surprisingly well-paced, even though the beginning feels a bit rushed.
  • There's no mistaking John Malkovich's screen presence and line delivery.

  • Overall: a small, well acted, pleasant experience, but nothing that you need to rush out and see.
Grade: B-

Number of 09 Films Seen: 11

Friday, April 24, 2009

Joseph Gordon-Levitt joins Christopher Nolan's "Inception" (2010)

I have no complaints. He's a very talented young actor, and it's nice to see him get to work on a big budget project that will give him more recognition. However, does anyone else think that he bears an eerie resemblance to the late Heath Ledger??

Source: The Hollywood Reporter/Reuters

By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Joseph Gordon-Levitt is signing on for "Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan's "Inception," a thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

The story line of the Warner Bros. project, which Nolan also wrote, remains rapped in a veil of secrecy, with no details announced beyond the description that it's a contemporary sci-fi action tale set within "the architecture of the mind."

Gordon-Levitt is taking the role that was to have been played by James Franco, who bowed out over scheduling issues. He would play an associate of DiCaprio's character, a CEO-type.

Marion Cotillard is already on board as DiCaprio's wife, while Ellen Page is playing a grad student and DiCaprio's sidekick. Cillian Murphy is also in the cast.

Nolan and the studio are aiming for a summer shoot and a 2010 release.

Gordon-Levitt ("The Lookout," "Mysterious Skin") has a big summer lined up: He stars in the romantic comedy "500 Days of Summer," opening in July, and plays the villainous Cobra Commander in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," which opens August 7.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Final lineup for the 2009 Cannes Film Festival revealed!



CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

OPENER
"Up," U.S., Pete Docter, Bob Peterson

CLOSER
"Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky," France, Jan Kounen

IN COMPETITION
"Bright Star," Australia-U.K.-France, Jane Campion
"Spring Fever," China-France, Lou Ye
"Antichrist," Denmark-Sweden-France-Italy, Lars von Trier
"Enter the Void," France, Gaspar Noe
"Face," France-Taiwan-Netherlands-Belgium, Tsai Ming-liang
"Les Herbes folles," France-Italy, Alain Resnais
"In the Beginning," France, Xavier Giannoli
"A Prophet," France, Jacques Audiard
"The White Ribbon," Germany-Austria-France, Michael Haneke
"Vengeance," Hong Kong-France-U.S., Johnnie To
"The Time That Remains," Israel-France-Belgium-Italy, Elia Suleiman
"Vincere," Italy-France, Marco Bellocchio
"Kinatay," Philippines, Brillante Mendoza
"Thirst," South Korea-U.S., Park Chan-wook
"Broken Embraces," Spain, Pedro Almodovar
"Map of the Sounds of Tokyo," Spain, Isabel Coixet
"Fish Tank," U.K.-Netherlands, Andrea Arnold
"Looking for Eric," U.K.-France-Belgium-Italy, Ken Loach
"Inglourious Basterds," U.S., Quentin Tarantino
"Taking Woodstock," U.S., Ang Lee

OUT OF COMPETITION
"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," Canada-France, Terry Gilliam
"The Army of Crime," France, Robert Guediguian
"Agora," Spain, Alejandro Amenabar

MIDNIGHT SCREENINGS
"A Town Called Panic," Belgium, Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar
"Ne te retourne pas," France-Belgium-Luxembourg-Italy, Marina de Van
"Drag Me to Hell," U.S., Sam Raimi

SPECIAL SCREENINGS
"Petition," China, Zhao Liang
"L'epine dans le coeur," France, Michel Gondry
"Min ye," France-Mali, Souleyumane Cisse
"Jaffa," Israel-France-Germany, Keren Yedaya
"Manila," Philippines, Adolfo Alix Jr., Raya Martin
"My Neighbor, My Killer," U.S., Anne Aghion

UN CERTAIN REGARD
"Samson & Delilah," Australia, Warwick Thornton
"Adrift," Brazil, Heitor Dhalia
"The Wind Journeys," Colombia, Ciro Guerra
"Demain des l'aube," France, Denis Dercourt
"Irene," France, Alain Cavalier
"Independance," Philippines-France-Germany, Raya Martin
"Le Pere de mes enfants," France-Germany, Mia Hansen-Love
"Dogtooth," Greece, Yorgos Lanthimos
"Nobody Knows About the Persian Cats," Iran, Bahman Ghobadi
"Eyes Wide Open," Israel, Haim Tabakman
"Mother," South Korea, Bong Joon-ho
"The Silent Army," Netherlands, Jean van de Velde
"To Die Like a Man," Portugal, Joao Pedro Rodrigues
"Police, Adjective," Romania, Corneliu Porumboiu
"Tales from the Golden Age," Romania, Hanno Hofer, Razvan Marculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu, Ioana Uricaru
"Tale in the Darkness," Russia, Nikolay Khomeriki
"Tzar," Russia-France, Pavel Lounguine
"Nymph," Thailand, Pen-ek Ratanaruang
"Precious," U.S., Lee Daniels

FEATURE FILM JURY
Isabelle Huppert (president), actress, France
Asia Argento, actress, director, screenwriter, Italy
Nuri Bilge Ceylan, director, screenwriter, actor, Turkey
Lee Chang-dong, director, author, screenwriter, South Korea
James Gray, director, screenwriter, U.S.
Hanif Kureishi, author, screenwriter, U.K.
Shu Qi, actress, Taiwan
Robin Wright Penn, actress, U.S.

LA CINEFONDATION AND SHORT FILM JURY
John Boorman (president), director, author, producer, U.K.
Bertrand Bonello, director, France
Ferid Boughedir, director, Tunisia
Leonor Silveira, actress, Portugal
Zhang Ziyi, actress, China

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another mysterious glimpse at "The Lovely Bones", featuring Stanley Tucci

Four new posters for "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" (click for larger versions)




First look at Russel Crowe in Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood"


I'm not sure about this. Crowe certainly makes a great leading man in an action/adventure film, but he seems a bit...old for the part. The Robin Hood character of lore always struck as someone young and lively. I'm also not crazy about the casting of Cate Blanchett as Lady Marion, although she'll probably give a better performance than Scott's first choice (Sienna Miller).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A (literal) glimpse of Heaven; first image from Peter Jackson's adaptation of "The Lovely Bones"

Two minutes of footage from "9"

"State of Play" - REVIEW


The political thriller is, unfortunately, a dying breed. It's not a matter of whether they're successful or not; it's that there are simply very few of them around. The last noteworthy political thriller was 2005's "The Interpreter", and it's been a desert for such films ever since. Whether or not "State of Play", adapted from the BBC miniseries of the same name, will open the door for more political thrillers is debatable, but it will satisfy fans of the genre for the time being. It opens with a murder in the dark, and an apparent suicide the next day. The suicide victim is Sonia Baker, the assistant to Congressman Steven Collins (Ben Affleck), who is just about to start a hearing into the work of private military organization Pointcorp (think the real life Blackwater). It soon comes to light that Sonia was the head of research for Collins, and that Collins was also having an affair with her. Meanwhile, shlubby reporter Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) picks up on the story and ends up working with recently-hired blogger Della Frye (Rachel McAdams). As the pair's investigation continues, the case becomes increasingly complex and connected across Washington. The best thing about "State of Play" are noticeable from the very beginning: the tight editing. Condensing the intricacies of a six episode miniseries into a two hour film couldn't have been an easy task, but it seems effortless on screen. The pacing is aided by the energetic, string-and-electric-guitar-based score, which lends an added sense of momentum to the film, which has very few "action scenes". Characters are another highlight. With the exception of Rachel McAdams' Della, everyone has their good and bad traits. Cal, though eager to seek the truth, is torn witholds vital evidence from a police investigation for at least a day, while his boss Cameron Lynne (Helen Mirren) is trying to force Cal and Della to run their story as soon as possible, regardless of how complete it is, in hopes that the news will sell more papers. Performances are all solid, but it's difficult to label anyone as a standout; there's no weak link, but there's no superstar either. This is more than made up for by the twists, which feel natural despite the compressed running time; just when you think you've been given the last part of the puzzle, something else comes up. Unfortunately, the only underwhelming part of the film is its final, and perhaps most crucial twist. Sure, it's nothing compared to some of the awfulness that M. Night Shyamalan has given us, but it fails to pack the wallop that the script planned for. It's a shame that the script had to save the one "blah" twist for last; it puts a damper on an otherwise very solid political thriller that deserves to be seen.

Grade: B

Number of 2008 films seen: 10

Friday, April 17, 2009

Emma Thompson says "no" to "Harry Potter 7", "yes" to "Nanny McPhee 2"



What a shame. Sure, Trelawney didn't have a big role in The Deathly Hallows...but her one or two significant moments were priceless. It's a shame that Thompson won't be there to deliver them.

British magazine Hello! reports that actress Emma Thompson is set to make a second Nanny McPhee film, which means she won't be reprising her role as Professor Sybil Trelawney for Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Thompson reveals that she isn't as emotionally and creatively attached to the Harry Potter series and she is Nanny McPhee, saying, "(Those films) are more like doing a turn, whereas the Nanny McPhees are something I've written. "They're very handmade... Those are the ones I really care about."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New teaser/behind the scenes video for "Inglorious Basterds"

And about that man with the British accent narrating the montage... that's Mike Myers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Trailer for "The Boat that Rocked"

Kick-ass new character Tv-spots for "Wolverine"









New posters for "Moon" and "The Brothers Bloom" (click for larger versions)


"Adventureland" - REVIEW


Greg Motolla's breakthrough (2007's Superbad), didn't leave a whole lot of room for promise; he seemed destined to be a one-hit wonder. It's because of this negative expectation that his follow-up is not only good, but much better than "Superbad". The year is 1987, and James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) has just finished college, and is ready to go on a trip through Europe with his friend, before going off to Columbia for graduate school. Problem is, his father has just been given a new, significantly lower-paying job than before, forcing James to spend his summer at a summer job, earning money towards graduate school. He quickly, though unenthusiastically, signs on at local amusement park Adventureland, run by Bobby and Paulette (Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig). Stuck managing a boring "horse-racing" game, he soon befriends a small ring of characters, namely nerdy Joel (Martin Starr), repairman Mike Connell (Ryan Reynolds), and mysterious, low key Emily (Kristen Stewart). Unlike many movies that would tediously prolong the no-duh relationship between Emily and James, it actually happens right away, leaving the question: how much longer can this movie last now that the central story is already in play? Surprisingly, "Adventureland" pulls it off, with a low-key, almost non-existant plot structure that actually works in the movie's mellow, summer vibe. A major improvement above "Superbad" is also that "Adventureland", though full of R-rated language, doesn't force it out; Superbad seemed determined to throw out as many F-bombs as possible whenever a situation exhausted its comic potential. "Adventureland"'s characters are treated with more respect, are less cartoony, and the film as a whole is much more subtle, and surprisingly poignant in a weird sort of way, which may come as a shock to fans of movies like "Superbad" and "Knocked Up". Eisenberg is terrific as James, who gradually comes out of his awkward shell, as is Martin Starr as Joel. Kristen Stewart, while fine, gets little more to do than smile half-heartedly and look sullen, and only gets to shine in three scenes where she gets emotional, one of which doesn't make any sense, where she calls a religious girl with uptight parents homophobic, anti-Semetic, and apartheid-supporting....out of NOWHERE. Hader and Wiig are good with what they have, but terribly underused, and Reynolds, though given more screentime, looks too "Hollywood-leading-man" to play a technician, but does an adequate job with what he has. In spite of this more obvious flaws, "Adventureland" is still a much better movie than "Superbad", because it feels more honest, doesn't try too hard to be funny, and ends up being surprisingly moving because of its honesty and more subtle characters and relationships.

Grade: B+

Number of 2009 films: 9

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Quick thoughts on "I Love You, Man"


- Aside from a handful of gross-out jokes in the first 20 minutes, it's actually really funny.

- Paul Rudd gives his best comedic performance to date, shifting between the comfortable-around-his-girlfriend-man and awkward-around-guys-man.

- Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) continues to prove that he's one of Hollywood's new go-to guys for comedy.

- The supporting cast is stellar, although not always fully utilized (JK Simmons, Andy Samberg, Jamie Pressly, Sarah Burns, Rashida Jones, Jane Curtin, and "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau).

- Unlike last year's "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", "I Love You , Man" is very well paced, and remains constantly enjoyable; it never becomes bogged down when it hits its "serious" moments unlike FSM.

Grade: B

Number of 2009 Films Seen: 8

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Early review of "Star Trek" from the Sydney premiere

Source: Nukedthefridge.com

Some minor spoilers may be present.

I've never been to a premier before, but last night's World Premier of ‘Star Trek’ was simply amazing on every level. As I think everyone wants to hear about the film and not the red carpet, I'll get right to my impressions of ‘Star Trek.’

I will be there again on opening day. I consider myself an open-minded fan and I loved it, and the more I reflect on it the more I like it. As a fan many of my observations inevitably revolve around comparing the old and the new, and how long-time Trekkies might react to that. I'll try to keep it to a minimum and rate the film on its merits but it really does need mentioning: this is a worthy retelling of the original voyages of the starship Enterprise.

After an intense opening action sequence the title appears – the crowd goes absolutely mental (the first of many such occasions). Star Trek is back, bigger and bolder than ever before and chasing new audiences (no prior knowledge of the franchise is necessary) while keeping the old one happy. How they've done this is a neat bit of story-telling involving sci-fi staples that certainly isn't virgin territory for Star Trek, but is used here to satisfy everyone and – shockingly – it works a treat, thanks chiefly to the legendary Leonard Nimoy. He takes the lead with a grandfatherly ease in every scene.

The film primarily follows the paths of two men – Kirk and Spock – chronicling their childhood trials and growth into adulthood where much more dire trials await. What struck me most was how successfully such well-known characters are introduced in a fashion almost alien to how we classically perceive them, and then over the course of the film gradually become the crew we know and love.

Watching the introductions, the relationships, the conversations between these people is the film’s greatest strength. It offers up not just a healthy dose of geeky pleasure for fans, but many moments of genuine humour that everyone enjoyed. I lost track of the number of times the audience laughed in delight or cheered when a very well-known character or phrase first appeared. While some liberties have been taken (Simon Pegg's Scotty is a good example) most gags are appropriate and true to the characters. Many of these are so ingrained in pop culture by this stage that most non-fans will be in on the joke or the wink to the Trekkies. It really is absolutely marvelous, I can’t stress that enough.

Without going into the minutiae of each role (which I would love to do) fans shouldn’t be worried about the cast. I admit to having misgivings during the screening, but they were all soundly laid to rest by the time the credits rolled and the crowd erupted (J.J. got a standing ovation and took a bow, which was nice.) What I came to realize was that of course these characters are different – we’re watching them become the icons which were refined over decades – and the final payoff, seeing these eerily familiar characters with fresh young faces, is a joy to behold for this fan.

Those worried the new film would be an action-fest should have breathed a sigh of relief by now. The action scenes are amazing, frantic and chaotic (and loud) but they in no way overshadowed the cast. Critics of “shaky-cam” may have some gripes. It doesn’t faze me to be honest. It is here I have to introduce one of my few complaints of the evening though – my seat sucked. The screen was so large, and my position so close, that during some scenes of space combat it was impossible to absorb everything at once.

Both starship battles and fisticuffs are quite unlike anything that's been in a Trek movie before. The film-makers took the Trek canvas and created sequences that belong there, with many truly tense moments such as Sulu and Kirk battling Romulans for control of a drilling rig high in a planet’s atmosphere.

It’s difficult to dissect the plot – I was often so wrapped up in simply watching the characters evolve that I relegated the villain Nero’s actions to a subplot. Unfortunately, I felt that Nero was a fairly weak and barely-there baddy. He is a man clearly driven by deep grief and hatred, and although his motivations are revealed it feels all too brief to have any punch. Perhaps I will review my opinion after a later screening, but I can’t help but wonder if all the good stuff was relegated to the prequel tie-in comic “Countdown” (for a movie which boasts "Forget everything you knew" it seems odd to create supplementary material which actually assists in the telling of the story).

Sound effects were brilliant (did I mention how loud the film was) and readily recall the atmosphere of the original series. A new theme is introduced, which is to be expected, but much like other elements of the film many instances of the soundtrack take their cues from and reflect on Alexander Courage’s original theme.

(Attention! My final words may contain unacceptable spoilers for some!)

The film ends with a classic kind of strength and that definitive Star Trek aura. Everything is present and accounted for: the crew, the Enterprise blasting off into warp, the “These are the voyages…” monologue which here is blessed with the perfect choice for its delivery – and no, I’m not telling. Go watch it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2nd Quarter Preview: April, May June

With the first fourth of the year already behind us, we're finally starting to move away from start-of-the-new-year schlock, and into late spring/early summer, which means one thing: big budget action flicks. However, while the likes of "Star Trek" and "Wolverine" are just about certain to storm the box office, this list isn't populated entirely by typical big budget summer fare, and the number one choice is going to surprise most people, because I've only posted one or two things about my #1 most anticipated film of early summer. Without further adieu, the 12 to keep an eye over the course of April, May, and June....

12. Cheri (June 26th - Limited) - Think that summer movies are filled with too many explosions and not enough witty banter and pretty dresses? Then "Cheri", starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Kathy Bates, might just be your cup of (very sophisticated) tea. Set in 1920s Paris, the plot centers on Cheri (Rupert Friend...that's right..."Cheri" is a man), the son of a courtesan, must deal with the end of his relationship with an older woman (Pfeiffer) who educated him in the ways of love. Even if the movie sucks, it will still be worth a look for those of us who can't fathom how Michelle Pfeiffer still looks sexier than most "hot" 20 year old starlets (I'll take Madame Pfeiffer over that Lady Gaga wench any day, thank you very much).

Anticipation Meter: 6/10

11. The Brothers Bloom (May 15th/29th?? - Limited) - The twice delayed "Brothers Bloom" has finally secured a solid release date...so the marketing says. Let's hope that's a good thing, because I've been curious to see Rian Johnston's crime/spy/thriller/comedy for a while now. Adrian Brody and Mark Ruffallo play the titular brothers, who team up with their explosives expert (Rinko Kikuchi from "Babel") and a New Jersey heiress (Rachel Weisz) for one last con. Plot details have been (thankfully) kept relatively under wraps, despite the repeated delays, which is good, because "Bloom"'s plot seems like the sort of well-executed spy-farce packed with plot twists and double crosses (just like the delightful "Duplicity"). It will also be interesting to see Weisz, Brody, and especially Kikuchi (who irritated me to no end in "Babel") try their hands at comedy. Hopefully the casting risk pays off...

Anticipation Meter: 6.5/10

10. Angels and Demons (May 15th - Nationwide) - After the debacle that was "The Da Vinci Code", this prequel-turned-sequel has to be a step up...right? With Tom Hanks' hair looking considerably less awful (it's still an eye sore, however) and a plot more suited for a summer blockbuster (running around! assassins! car chases! explosions!), "Angels and Demons" has the potentially to transfer to the big screen much more smoothly than its predecessor, because it doesn't rely on a bunch of (mostly fake) facts to create the suspense/plot twists. Oh, and a quick message to the Vatican from one Catholic to another: regardless of whether you boycott this movie, people (yes, Catholics too...and probably lots of them) will still see this movie, so stop bitching about it, and go back to preaching the gospel and helping people. Also, will someone in the Vatican (anyone will do...most of you guys in there are superbly educated) please get the pope up to speed on condoms? Thanks.

Anticipation Meter: 6.5/10

09. Up (May 29th - Nationwide) - Perhaps the marketing team for "Up!" should be fired. With all the fantastic reports from test screenings, it seems odd that the trailers feel so...limp. The humor doesn't stick, and animation aside, it looks like a giant step below "Ratatouille" and "WALL-E" in terms of sophistication. Even the one or two clips released online aren't terribly impressive (one is downright "blah"). Is it just a case of bad trailers and seeing clips out of context, or does Pixar have another "Cars" on their hands?

Anticipation Meter: 6.5/10

08. The Soloist (April 24th - Nationwide) - Another delayed project from 08, this one is particularly note worthy for being a former Oscar hopeful. Directed by "Atonement"'s Joe Wright, "The Soloist" tells the true story of LA reporter Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) who stumbles upon a blind cello prodigy (Jamie Foxx). Lopez decides to write a story about the prodigy, and tries to help him achieve his dream of playing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Thrown into the mix is Catherine Keener, playing yet another semi-likeable bitch (you're awesome Ms. Keener, but it's getting old), this time in the form of Lopez's co-worker. The trailer screams "schmaltz", so here's hoping that someone as skilled as Wright can make the story moving, without resorting to shameless heartstring-tugging. It should also be interesting to hear Wright collaborator Dario Marianelli's score; music for modern day stories isn't exactly his forte, so I'm interested to hear what he comes up with.

Anticipation Meter: 6.5/10

07. Terminator: Salvation (May 21st - Nationwide) - It's awkward to admit, but I've never seen any of the Terminator movies completely, though I do know a solid amount about the plot details. However, judging by the trailer, "Terminator: Salvation" has plenty of unresolved plot threads from the Terminator saga that will engage series fans, while also offering a basic overarching plot to draw in neophytes (humans vs. robots, apocalyptic setting, fate of mankind at stake, etc...). While the cast boasts Christian Bale as John Connor, the person I'm most interested to see is the as-yet-unrevealed Serena, apparently something of a villain, played by the always delightful Helena Bonham Carter.

Anticipation Meter: 7/10


06. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 29th - Nationwide) - Just like with "Angels and Demons", I wasn't terribly fond of the predecessor to "Revenge of the Fallen". The first Transformers movie felt largely inert, with annoying attempts at comedy, and a surprisingly sluggish, action-free set up (though the big finale, ridiculous though it may be, was pretty spectacular). Hopefully, with all of Michael Bay's "characters" (I use that term very, very lightly) set up, he get stop trying to be a serious filmmaker and get right to the good stuff: big-ass robots beating the hell out of each other. With the addition of a slew of new Transfomers (both good and bad) ranging from a speedy tiger-like contraption, to a stadium-sized one who makes all others look like flies, "Transformers 2" has all the potential to be the biggest, loudest, dumbest, and certainly most explosion-filled sequel of the year. If done right, it will be the perfect summer action flick: a fun and exciting spectacle that allows you to check your brain at the door and enjoy the ride.

Anticipation Meter: 7/10


05. Star Trek (May 8th - Nationwide) - I've never been much of a "Star Trek" follower either, and for the longest time I didn't give a damn about JJ Abrams' reboot of the classic sci-fi show. And then that 2nd trailer came out. I've been excited ever since. With special effects slick enough to give "Transformers 2" a run for its money, and stunning worlds and action sequences, "Star Trek" seems to have done the impossible: updated a campy TV classic into a modern, relevant sci-fi epic.

Anticipation Meter: 7.5/10


04. State of Play (April 17th - Nationwide) - It's no easy task having to condense a complicated TV miniseries into a 2 hour movie, but judging from the trailers, director Kevin Macdonald and crew may have done just that. When a young Washington DC clerk/assistant is shot in a dark alley, it sets off an investigation not only from the police, but by a very determined reporter as well (Russell Crowe). Turns out, the young woman was having an affair with Crowe's former friend, a current senator (Ben Affleck) who's been investigating a suspicious company. As the case is dragged on further, Crowe and his fellow reporter (Rachel McAdams) start to hunt for the truth, even when the police, and their own boss (Helen Mirren) tell them that they should keep their noses out. All of it leads to "something" that's infinitely more complex and connected than anyone ever suspected. Hollywood has been in short supply of political thrillers that manage to be intense without relying on a car chase every five minutes, and "State of Play" might just be the movie to fill that void. With its stellar cast and gripping source material, it could be a nice late-spring surprise (the fact that it's being released around the same time as 2005's well-executed "The Interpreter" seems like a good sign as well).

Anticipation Meter: 8/10



.03 Wolverine (May 1st - Nationwide) - The comic book movie has enjoyed something of a renaissance this decade. First it was the success of the Spiderman franchise, and then Christopher Nolan's brilliant, brooding reinvention of Batman. On the flip side, there were the X-Men movies, which, while successful, never really got to the same level as the previous two series. The first two were incredibly fun, yes, but at times too cheeky, and overstuffed with characters, many of whom were teenage brats. By the time Brett Ratner's "X-Men 3" rolled out in 2006, the franchise seemed a bit stale. In a surprisingly smart move, 20th Century Fox decided to drop the cast of regulars (save for Hugh Jackman of course) to focus on the origin story of the quintessential X-men mutant: Wolverine. Jackman, though about a foot too tall, is still the perfect fit for Wolverine, and with a movie entirely dedicated to his character's story, he should have more room to shine. The reports that Jackman and director Gavin Hood wanted to make the film more dark and less family friendly are also encouraging, just as long as Hood and crew don't completely leave out the sense of fun (judging by some of Liev Schreiber's one liners, it would seem that the humor is intact). But if you're afraid of suffering from seeing too much Wolverine, there will be plenty of other fun characters to make things go "boom". There's Schreiber's Sabretooth, who becomes Wolverine's arch nemesis, John Wraith (Wil. i. am) who can become invisible, Emma Frost (Tahya Tozzi) who has control over ice, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), who's something of a gravity defying, twin blade whirling ninja, and Gambit (Taylor Kitsch), who has the power to charge inanimate objects with energy, which can turn even playing cards into deadly weapons. So while this may be Wolverine's story, don't expect Jackman to hog the screen the whole time; he'll have plenty of on-screen company to keep things interesting.

Anticipation Meter: 8/10



02. Away We Go (May 29th - Limited) - The cheap, "Juno"-riffic poster aside, Sam Mendes' immediate follow-up to the so-so "Revolutionary Road" is a dark drama/comedy for adults, that, even if it's only half as good as its trailer, will still be a winner. Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) are going nowhere in their lives until Verona suddenly becomes pregnant. Seeing no point in sticking around their dilapidated house, the couple sets out across America to try and find a suitable place to start their family, while encountering family members and friends along the way. The cast alone is enough of a reason to see it (Krasinski, Rudolph, Catherine O'Hara, Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and queen-of-the-scene-stealers Allison Janney), but the fact that it's written by Dave Eggers (who wrote the tragic, yet sometimes painfully funny A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) and his wife is an added plus. The man has a way with dialogue, and with Mendes behind the camera, we could have something really special on our hands.

Anticipation Meter: 9/10



01. The Limits of Control (May 1st - Limited) - "Away We Go" may have the funniest trailer of the year so far, but nothing comes close to matching "The Limits of Control"'s trailer in terms of sheer intrigue. Part independent drama, part bizarre espionage tale, it's hard to elaborate on the plot, because the trailer gives so little away, all while making you think, "I HAVE to see this movie!!" Though Isaach De Bankole, as the guitar playing main character, may not be a household name even among art-house theater goers, there's plenty of other big names to round out the ensemble: Bill Murray, John Hurt, Gael Garcia Bernal, "The Visitor"'s overlooked Hiam Abbass, and Tilda Swinton, sporting some costumes 10 times more bizarre than anything she's ever worn on the red carpet. Perhaps what makes the film so intriguing, stellar cast aside, is that it is a small film that still looks very polished, but without looking like it has compromised any of its individuality. And these days, that's hard to come by, which is why even seeing the trailer for films like "The Limits of Control" is enough to make you realize that, yes, there is still room in Hollywood for creativity to grow freely.

Anticipation: 9/10