Coming movies look pretty neat, here's what's up.
Here's the lowdown on the fall movie season!
and the Sorcerer's Stone
Opening October 20th
IN A NUTSHELL: David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club) directs one of J.K. Rowling's gut-wrenching Harry Potter novels to the big screen.
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT IT: Rowling's Hellish thriller is perfect material for Fincher, who hopefully will infuse some lightheartedness into Rowling's blood-soaked horror. Young Harry Potter will be played by Brad Pitt.
WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD: Fincher had to cut footage to avoid an NC-17 rating; reports say up to 14 minutes were sliced from Harry's climactic battle against the dark Helldemon and his flesh-eating underlings. Can it really be that bad? "We've had people walk out of screenings before," says MPAA representative Mary Herschwieler, "but this is the first time screeners have actually ran from the theater. And they kept running, some never to be seen again, the thin fabric of their sanity rended, befowled, and flushed down J.K. Rowling's toilet."
Look for: Danny DeVito in heavy makeup as The Soul Eater.
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 2
Opening October 20th
IN A NUTSHELL: The Nazis are back in this modern-day sequel, and Private Ryan is called out of retirement to take 'em down. Tom Hanks and Matt Damon reprise their roles from the first film.
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT IT: The script was penned by comedian Jerry "Fuzz" McBully (Deuce Bigalow, Caddy Shack 3) so the film should have a lighter feel than the depressing original (Hitler's new sidekick is a hilarious midget.) Action master Michael Bay (Armageddon, Bad Boys) directs, and everyone is talking about World War II with the wild success of Hogan's Heroes.
WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD: Some WW2 vets are offended by the idea of Matt Damon and Tom Hanks taking on the Axis army by themselves. The slogan for the ad campaign (This time we're gonna do it right) also irks some veterans groups. Hanks, who was killed in the first film, is reborn as a killer cyborg for the sequel. Do we need to see Hanks playing yet another killer cyborg?
Look for: Dolph Lundgren as Adolph Hitler.
PAY IT FORWARD
Opening October 27th
IN A NUTSHELL: Based on the heart-warming novel by David Lee Roth. Twelve year-old Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) changes the world with a simple idea: Do something good for three people, and in exchange, they must each "pay it forward" (do a favor) for three others.
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT IT: The ad campaign promises a refreshingly optimistic film, about one idea that brings about peace and happiness on Earth. However...
WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD: ...the real story, as those of us who have read the novel know (WARNING! SPOILER AHEAD!) is that the boy's idea meets an abrupt end. Trevor begins the movement by giving a homeless man food and shelter. Instead of "Paying it Forward" the homeless man pulls a large-caliber pistol and shoots the boy eleven times. The book was only six pages long.
Look for: A now-mature Osment, who is sporting a thick beard for the role.
Opening November 22nd
IN A NUTSHELL: Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson square off in a world championship arm wrestling tournament. Dave "unbreakable" McGwire (Willis) takes on the current champion and bitter rival, Donavan "FroMaster" Jefferson (Jackson). The winner gets a brand new semi.
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT IT: Possibly the most authentic arm wrestling movie since Stallone's Over the Top. Willis and Jackson each took a year off acting to study the intricacies of the sport, and trained for six months under arm wrestling great Mike "Cooter" Bulsom. Also, it's got the season's hottest catch phrase: "I'm 'bout to wrestle some arm!"
WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD: Willis' last four arm wrestling movies haven't performed up to the level of his first five. Is arm wrestling mania waning? The film could also have benefited from an earlier release, to feed off the Olympics and America's gold medal-winning arm wrestling team.
Look for: A cameo by Bill Paxton as Jacques, the Prime Minister of France.
Opening November 9th
IN A NUTSHELL: Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore star in this sequel to Red Dawn, the 1985 Russian invasion film. This pet project of Val Kilmer's (a devoted anti-communist) is set in the year 2015, when a souless Al Gore shackles the U.S. under Marxist rule.
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT IT: Action, and lots of it, as Kilmer leads a rebel band of NRA members against the reds.
WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD: The film is filled to the brim with anti-communist propaganda. At one point a forlorn Val Kilmer weeps over a dead patriot child, saying "none of this would have happened if only I had reported the unamerican activities of my neighbors!" (he turns to look into the camera) "Will you?"
Look for: Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff as the evil Russian general Kusputin.
Opening Dec. 25
IN A NUTSHELL: Tom Hanks stars in the true story of Henry Scarpetta, a man who survived a three-month stay on a remote island off the coast of Japan. The real-life Scarpetta used bamboo sticks and palm leaves to build an 11,000-mile bridge back to New York.
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT IT: Realism. Hanks grew a scraggly beard and lost 50 pounds for the role. The ocean-spanding bridge used in the film was built by the actor himself.
WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD: The studio tried to boost business with a Survivor tie-in. However, producers of the hit TV show refused, so instead the studio cast members of the 80's band Survivor in several key roles. How will that help? Also the studio has made changes to the otherwise true story to suit Hanks (he'll be playing a killer cyborg).
Look for: A cameo by Bill Paxton, as himself.