L. Bangs' Gut Speaks Out On Upcoming Films (ouch...)

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Tags: 

  • I can't wait...

  • The Fountain (Alright, it is moving again, and this time Hugh Jackman is taking up the role Bard Pitt slimed out of)
  • Romance & Cigarettes
  • Casino Royale (I haven't been this excited about a Bond film since I was a wee lad...)
  • Art School Confidential
  • Thank You for Smoking
  • Flight 93
  • The Da Vinci Code
  • Cars (Yeah, the promos are not the best, but it is a Lasseter Pixar film, so right now, that trumps all)
  • Miami Vice
  • A Scanner Darkly

  • Hmmmm...
  • Freedomland
  • Friends With Money
  • American Dreamz
  • Killer Driller
  • Mission: Impossible III
  • An American Haunting
  • Poseidon
  • Over the Heddge
  • The King
  • X-Men: The Last Stand
  • Nacho Libre
  • Superman Returns
  • You, Me and Dupree
  • My Super Ex-Girlfriend
  • Pulse
  • Lady in the Water
  • The Ant Bully
  • World Trade Center
  • The Visiting



  • I've got a bad feeling...

  • Date Movie
  • Eight Below
  • Ultraviolet
  • The Benchwarmers
  • Take the Lead
  • On a Clear Day
  • Scary Movie 4
  • Hoot
  • Wassup Rockers
  • Just My Luck
  • The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
  • The Devil Wears Prada
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
  • Gladiator 2
Author Comments: 

I'll try to take films off this list as critical reports roll in. These items represent my gut's intuition, not educated guesses formed after reading critics. Hopefully, I'm dead on with all my hopes and entirely too cynical with all my dreads.

Hmmmms... are films I could easily see going either way and have no strong precognitions concerning their qualities.

Plus, it seems to me that the Matrix really wowed people with its special effects, not its Eastern mishmash dialogue. Now that so many movies are either copying or parodying the Matrix's effects, I'm wondering what it's going to offer the second time around to encourage repeat viewings.

Well, I do think the original took great advantage of a mind-bending premise, and with a little brain power, it certainly could finds loads to mine there again. I hope they do. But, let's face it - At least 99% of all sequels stink. Really bad. So while I have high hopes for the latest Lord of the Rings (at least partly because it was filmed with the original and certainly comes from a great source), I only hold out moderate hopes for the next Matrix. I have a feeling it will be anything but moderate. I have a feeling it will either rock or suck grandly.

Here's hoping the brothers pull it off!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Well, given what little we know of The Brothers W I'm having a hard time imagining it will suck grandly. That only leaves the alternative (I hope I hope!) . . .

Oh, and have I failed to instill any anticipation in you for Hero? C'mon now, if I can rent Hartley movies and make note of it when he has something new coming out the least you can do is keep an eye on my man Zhang. :-)

I dig Zhang. Quite a bit. I simply didn't remember Hero. Thanks for the reminder!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I figured it wasn't intentional - tongue was firmly in cheek. And I'm psyched to see it found a spot in your "can't wait" section! Your choices there are pretty closely aligned with my own, although I'd probably bump the next Matrix movie up a notch, and I don't know anything about Adaptation - can you fill me in on that one (sure, I could use Google, but I'd rather hear from you why it's eagerly anticipated)?

It is the second film from the screenwriting / directing team of Being John Malkovich, which is enough alone to, er, Spike my interest. Nick Cage plays twins, and the film has Meryl Streep, Brian Cox, Catherine Keener, and writers in it. Being John Malkovich was my favorite film of 1999, so I'm there.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Sigh. I hate giving good people bad news.

I have high hopes for SOLARIS too. Couldn't get into the Russian movie version, but the Lem novel is fascinating - one of the strangest alien life-forms in all sf.

Let's keep our fingers crossed.

The original film has just arrived on DVD as a Criterion edition. Considering that the director's Andrei Rublev is now one of my favorite films, I'm going to have to check his Solaris out of the library before seeing the new one. I haven't seen it in years (and then on a really bad videotape), and frankly don't remember much of it except the concept, basic plot, and the fact that I remember liking it to some degree and thinking it would be even better with a great print.

That idea concerning the life form is great. I guess one of these days I should put my Greek books down and read the novel...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Very much btw, something I've long wanted to know but was afraid to ask: do you have a specially installed "Shalom, y'all!" key on your keyboard?

I once considered getting a "Jim," key wired in :-D.

You know, if I were a smart boy, I probably would do that. But dumb boys cannot be lazy boys, and therefore I actually type the whole darn thing in each time. Pathetic, eh?

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs (who loves your Bond list and awaits future updates...)

Alright, I'm starting to see some early reviews for Solaris (quite positive, I'm happy to report), so I'll drop that from the list now.

I'll also add that I am highly anticipating Far from Heaven and am only neglecting it because many reviews are already available for it in limited release.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Far from Heaven is wonderful. I just wanted to put that out there. It's in my top tier of the year so far, which has been diffuicult to do, I've been mean this year.

Wow, I just found out that it is already showing here. Hopefully it will stay through the weekend. I think my wife is also interested in this one, and I personally can't wait.

Thanks! I will certainly try.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

As usual, you're absolutely right. Far from Heaven is wonderful, and you have been mean this year (and me, I love it!).

Thanks for the heads-up!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I'm curious to know what sort of response to these films would either confirm or negate your gut instinct. For example, if you have something in the I've Got A Bad Feeling section and it gets good critical acclaim does that mean your gut feeling was wrong. Or do you have to see the film and like it and then that means your gut feelings were wrong?

The second. This list is what my guts says about whether the film will actually be a good or bad film, not how successful it will be, and being the pompous dork I am, I'll consider myself the final judge of how good or bad the film actually is. :)

For example, I have a pretty good feeling that critics will eat Chicago up. I still think it looks like a stinker. If I see the film (and, sigh, I probably will...) and like it, I was really wrong. If I don't, I nailed it.

Does that answer the question? If it helps, people can think of this as what L. Bangs' gut says about L. Bangs will think about the film.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

That definitely helps and explains why I have such a strong reaction to your dissing movies that I think are going to be good.

Sorry. Do keep in mind that these really are just gut reactions. I'm not really dissing a film as much as saying I have a bad feeling that it won't be very good. I haven't seen any of these films yet, so I am far from being able to make any critical call on the quality of these yet. They may all be great. As I stated elsewhere on this page, I really hope I am wrong about every single one of the films I fear will be bad.

Now, my recently seen pages, that's where I do my dissing. ;)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I just saw the trailer for Gangs of New York and I think it's the first Scorsese theatrical release that I've eagerly anticipated (most of the movies that "made" him came out when I was too young to know better, and while I've looked forward to some of his recent stuff, the anticipation has been less acute than for Gangs).

I finally saw the trailer while watching 24 Tuesday, and while the trailer is cut so quick that it is hard to get a feel of the film, I remain incredibly optimistic!

Let's keep hoping!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Hey, my gut just got excited about The Hulk. Did you see the cast? Eric "Chopper" Bana, Jennifer "Requiem" Connelly, and Ang Lee has demonstrated he has the chops for this kind of movie with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I don't really know why I wasn't paying more attention to this one until now.

The cast is very promising. I don't know, my gut is still a bit wavering. Maybe it is just because I have very bad luck with CGI-driven films, especially when huge chunks of the main character footage is computer generated. Maybe I fear a Spidey repeat...

But, I hope for the best, and, at this point, will only commit myself to being firmly noncommital.

You are right, though, that is a killer cast, and Lee's Crouching Tiger was a good film.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Is it me, or does Tears of the Sun remind you of the movie within a movie in Ghost World: The Flower that Drank the Moon.

:)

You know, I should probably demote that film. After seeing the trailer again, I'm not too hopeful. Haven't we all already seen Three Kings?

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I'm afraid I share your fear for Finding Nemo; the first Pixar trailer that does almost nothing for me.

Good gravy, it looks like our misgivings were misplaced in regard to Finding Nemo. Check the Tomatometer! I read the one-and-only dissenting review. His complaint? Too much for the kids, not enough for the adults.

Boy, no offense, but I hope we were both fools to worry.

I'll hold off on the celebration until I see it, though...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs (with fingers crossed...)

:-) None taken. I'd love to be the fool on this score. I'll probably see it with my daughter this weekend or next, so I'll post both our thoughts then.

I for one will certainly appreciate both reviews!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Ugh, "Dumb and Dumberer" sounds so horrible. I think there's a reason why they couldn't get Carrey or Daniels to be in it or the Farrelly brothers to direct it.

"Bruce Almighty" does look like a fairly stupid comedy, but I really wanna see it nonetheless.

I'm torn about "The In-Laws." I love Brooks and Douglas, but at the same time, while they are good actors, I doubt they can possibly equal Falk and Arkin in this schtick, and while the script of the original "In-Laws" was good, the movie hinged on the performances of the two leads.

Not sure about "Finding Nemo."

I didn't realize the talent had abandoned Dumb and Dumberer. Thanks! We'll consider it lowered.

I'm a bit torn about The In-Laws as well, but I frankly feel about as good for it as i have for eons about a Hollywood comedy. i'm a hoping!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

The original In-Laws was a very funny movie. Why even redo it? I of course know the answer, Money makes the world go round...

:( It seems it ain't making any money, and from what I can gather reading dispatches from the front, it ain't that good either. Drats! Albert Brooks, please, write and direct another film for yourself. I'll take another Lost in America or Defending Your Life any day. Heck, I'll even settle for a Muse! (No Mothers, though, if you please...)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Really? I enjoyed "Mother", though not as much as "Defending Your Life" or "The Muse" or "Modern Romance." "Real Life" was OK too, but I could do without "Lost in America."

Very interesting...

I certainly enjoyed parts of Mother, but too many sections fell flat for me, and the film seemed oddly clumsy for a Brooks film.

I love Lost in America, though...

Defending Your Life is one of the most under-rated comedies of the 90s. Easily. Great film.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

"Mother" was pretty uneven. The part where Brooksie was talking about having sex with his mother was pretty stupid. I enjoyed it for the most part.

For "Lost in America", the wife's stupidity was what did it in for me. I mean, I've heard of gambling problems, but gambling away all your savings that you've just planned your trip around? Al is way too forgiving also. The whole thing is pretty unsettling, and what does the ending tell you about the message of the movie? "Don't go out exploring America. You're better off in your dead-end job. Risks are bad."

"Defending Your Life is one of the most under-rated comedies of the 90s. Easily. Great film."

I won't argue with that.

Also, have you seen "Modern Romance"? This one really explores Brooks's neurotic character and pokes fun at how men act in relationships. Not as great as "Defending Your Life", but still a fun movie.

I've only seen about half of Modern Romance, but I've enjoyed what I caught. I'll have to talk my wife into renting this one with me. She also is a Brooks fan.

And, if we're willing to go Brooks squared, although Al didn't direct it, Broadcast News is a masterpiece.

IMHO, you may be misreading Lost in America. I think Lost in America was really trying to spoof yuppies on the hand loving their financially beneficial position in life and on the other hand wanting to recapture a carefree youth. The line about 'Easy Rider with a nest-egg' is telling, and the trip to see the 'real' America somehow begins at Vegas (!). I'm not entirely sure that the film isn't softening a bit of anger in Al. If you ask me, he's sorta pointing fingers about the death of the ideals of the sixties.

*You* might be able to see America, but for this couple, going back to their younger, less-materialistic selves was like squeezing toothpaste back into the tube.

Or, at least, that's how I see it...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Hmm, I never put it in that context before. I might have to watch it again and consider that. Thanks for the insight!

And I agree that "Broadcast News" is a masterpiece, but I don't think he wrote it either, according to IMDB anyway. I think he just acted in it.

You are correct. My 'Brooks squared' reference was to the director, James Brooks, and Albert Brooks, the actor.

I'm glad you dig Broadcast News also! I love that film.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Ohhh, gotcha

Did you see the first "Legally Blonde", lbangs? If so, what did you think?

A friend rented it, and I caught about 1/4 of it before I left. I didn't hate, but I never felt the urge to rent the film and finish it up either. I hate to judge a film too much before I've seen all of it, so I'll hold off.

Comedy sequels, however, are usually quite awful, in my experience, so I'm not excited by the new installment.

What did you think of the film? Should I rent it some time?

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I thought it was a very fun summer movie. Certainly not up there with the best movies of the year, but not nearly as brainless as many other summer movies.

Then again, I may be biased. One producer of the movie is the brother of some family friends of ours, and (so I've heard) a very nice guy as well.

I've seen another trailer, and I think I still have to place Kill Bill firmly in my "Hmm" camp. I can understand where we'd diverge here, given our Jackie Brown discussions, but I've got some worries. But perhaps I'm just put off my too many Tarantino introductions where he brags about introducing another great Asian movie to the unwashed American masses, obviously smug in his knowledge of a relatively esoteric genre. Not that he's not right, it just turns me off, and now he's making his own martial arts picture? Anyway, I hope my worries are misplaced, or perhaps just rechannelled jealously. :-)

Well, I hope your worries are misplaced as well!

My wife owns Jackie Brown, and honestly, my appreciation of that film grows on every viewing. I'll have to try for a longer write-up someday expressing what I see in that film...

Only the third Lord of the Rings can come close to matching my hopes for Kill Bill.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Well, I certainly hope you're right! Hey, I'll make a deal with you: if you kick in a compelling Jackie Brown article to Listology, I'll rewatch it and re-review it.

Hey, speaking of eagerly anticipated LBangs articles, are you ever going to write me the equivalent of your Adam Again article, but for Hal Hartley?

I'm holding off on the Hartley article at least until my film list is posted. I may well have to crib from myself!

The Jackie Brown article is a great idea. I've been working on a number of side-projects, so I'll have to see if I can carve out the time for it.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

On a related note, recent, longer trailers for The Hulk have made me consider making a new, lower rank. Gee, that film just looks horrid, and sadly, most folks I know in its core audience (younger males) agree with me.

Of course, they may very well go see it anyway, but...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

:-) I've only seen the one trailer that they ran during the Super Bowl, so my hopes haven't been completely dashed yet, but I'll certainly wait for Netflix to send it to me at this point (if at all, depending on how it fares).

Maybe I'll be dead wrong and it will rock. I'll be holding off for a while at least, though.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Gasp! The Hulk a fresh tomato? 65% approval rating from 55 total reviews?!?

It's just barely holding on by it's mighty green fingernails, though. And the "Cream of the Crop" has it at 59%. I'm thinking it'll drop into the 50s across the board when more reviews come on line. We should start a pool: whoever comes closest to guessing it's final score wins. I'm going to take 56%.

As time passes? I haven't seen it yet, but my guts telling me under 50%. Is that incredibly low? I'm not a Rotten regular.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Under 50% is pretty low, but not very low. I think 33% and under is getting down there, and it's almost impossible to find a movie in the twenties or lower where the masses are wrong. I've seen movies in the single digits. Here's a sampling from 2000. I'm happy to report that one of the movies I panned scores the only ZERO percent on that page (would that I'd known that before renting it!).

Thanks!

I wonder how different the lists would be if each critic's assessment was given a percentage, and then they were all averaged. Example: Gods and Generals. No critic liked it, but I doubt many would have rated it quite that low. Since, however, every critic's input is binary (Good or Bad), a film that might have averaged around 50 - 60 percent (maybe lower) using percentages for each critic is now in the single digits.

I hope that made sense. Maybe it would not make any difference. I'd be curious though...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Oh, I'm sure your change would have a HUGE impact on the scores, especially at the extremes. Although I'd like to think Ballistic would still score a 0%. :-)

Yes. Me and Ballistic have been keeping our distance...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Just checked the scores: interesting to note that the overall score has *risen* (so it looks like we'll be out of the running for the set of steak knives), but that the "cream of the crop" score (the critically-acclaimed critics :-) is dropping, and is now in your "under 50%" territory.

Very curious.

On the other hand, scanning reviews, I guess my hopes in Alex & Emma may have been ill-placed... :(

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

:)

I always found that odd about the site. In my high school, a 65% was a D and not a passing grade. At that site, it gains a nod of approval. Hmmm....

Still, I wonder what the score would be if Ang Lee's name wasn't attached to it? I would think that Crouching Tiger would give him a bit of curve to slide those grades up on...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I dont know but I actually have some hope that Hulk is good. Its basically Frankenstein and King Kong redone with a green tinge. Pretty good inspirations, if you ask me and I am hoping that Ang Lee could add some "sense and sensibilty" to the popcorn crowd.

Well, to be honest, I wasn't a huge Sense and Sensibility fan, so...

Now, if we're talking Crouching Tiger or Eat Drink Man Woman, oh boy, I'm there. That CGI Hulk will be a huge hurdle to leap, though...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I haven't seen any trailers. Why the bad mojo for Seabiscuit?

I think Gary Ross's inability to handle potentially over-sentimental material in Pleasantville scares me given the subject matter and the maketing of Seabiscuit. Great cast, though, and Pleasantville was a debut with some very interesting streaks, so I hope my mojo is misfiring. (Should I take a prescription for that?)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Since Kill Bill has been on your "I can't wait" section since you started this list (IIRC), I thought you'd be interested in this: it will be released as two movies! What does your gut say about that?

Well, you didn't ask my opinion, but I'd just like to point out that it worked for "Jean de Florette" and "Manon of the Spring." But that's the only other example of something like this that I could think of, so you probably were already thinking of that anyway.

Actually, I had no idea those were filmed as one and then released as two! I did just discover that the producers of the 70s Musketeers movies filmed those two movies as one and then released them separately (and tried to get away with only paying the actors for one). The Lord of the Rings movies kinda fit this mold as well. And the Wachowskis wanted Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions released weeks apart, and Reloaded was definitely half a movie.

Anyway, yeah, it's not unprecedented. I also hope I didn't give the impression that this was necessarily a bad thing. It's just that up until this moment, I thought Kill Bill was going to be one movie with one release date. This doesn't change my anticipation level (still a "hmm", but it's growing slightly :-).

I still have heaping loads of hope, especially if the split really is for artistic reasons rather than crass commercial ones (doubtful, I know). Either way, I confess, this is the only film this year I will go to see even if every last critic in the world says it is godawful. Well, that, and if a new Hartley hits town.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

It's an interesting move. I just read a cynical take on it, and while I don't really share that depth of cynicism, I do worry that it might be a marketing bullet to the foot. I'm sure I'm projecting, but I'm guessing I'm not the only one who started looking at Tarantino as fallible after Jackie Brown, and getting folks to pay for three-hour movies is already an uphill battle (sadly). So the question is, will folks look at paying double for Kill Bill as a boon that will keep their butts from falling asleep, or as a gouging? Said another way, how many folks are going to pay full price for half of a three hour movie from a director whose last project was his least accessible, and who've already digested four years of Matrix-spawned wire-fu? There's you, me, and... I dunno, hopefully lots of people, but I'm worried.

If the first film is great, it will just increase the audience for the second, especially if the original hits the home market first. If not, it will hurt the second.

I find it hard to get worked up over this, and the issues your link leads to seem a bit petty to me.

So I'll still see you there, so save me a seat, Jim! I hope others follow. Know what? I strongly suspect they will.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Alrighty! They released the first Kill Bill trailer that entices me! I'm moving it up to a "Hmmmm Plus" in my book. :-)

Terrific! I can't wait to download the trailer when I get home!

Gee, I guess I should update this, eh?

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

How do you feel about the upcoming Elephant? I'm looking forward to it more than almost any other film. The trailer gives me goosebumps.

I try not to get too excited about films I suspect won't hit my town for another two hundred days or so, but yup, I do look forward to Elephant. Truth be told, I am looking forward to Dogville ever more...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Oh good God, yes! Dogville promises to be one of the most interesting films of the new millenium. I cannot wait.

Luckily, DC area rocks for movies.

:(

Tulsa surely ain't DC. Truth be told, though, I'm probably too poor to see half the films we miss here even if they did roll through town, so perhaps it is just as well.

Dogville certainly is *very* promising...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I was so excited to hear that Terrantino was coming out with a new film about a year ago. I didn't really like the title too much and I'm not really liking the previews too much either. Doesn't seem like there's anything there. Then again, I could be wrong, and I pray I am. LotR is going to be great just like the past 2 have been. School of Rock looks like it's going to be aweful, Mystic River could go either way, but let's hope it goes in the right direction. Even though it's not going to be great cinema, I'm excited about seeing Scary Movie 3 because it's co-written by Kevin Smith and revised and directed by David Zucker...and it's got Charlie Sheen and Leslie Nielson in it (Hot Shots! and Airplane! all over again).

Concerning Kill Bill, I also pray you are wrong. :) I've got a good feeling, and I will probably be there opening night - that's the first time I've said that about a film in years. Here's hoping! Three for three is a rare record, especially three as good as QT's three are.

I pretty much agree with most of your other predictions, except a) I think Jack Black may be able to make School of Rock, well, rock (I certainly won't swear to it, though), and b) I have little hope for Scary Movie 3; maybe the talent you mentioned can sway me.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

The early reviews on both Kill Bill and School of Rock are both very postive. School of Rock is being called the best mainstream comedy in years, and while people have slight reservations (the slicing of the film in half has critics bothered) they say that QT is going 4 for 4.

Sounds great to me. Kill Bill especially has me jazzed.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I haven't seen the trailer, but I may have to reconsider my low prediction of "Scary Movie 3." It might improve with the removal of all 329 Wayanses and the replacement of David Zucker as director, Kevin Smith as co-writer, and actors Queen Latifah, Darrell Hammond, Eddie Griffin (well...), Leslie Nielsen (maybe...), and George Carlin.

Also, "Signs" is just dying to be spoofed. And it'll be nice to see a "Matrix" parody that doesn't just focus on the "floating through air" special effects sequence. I mean, come on, the entire premise of the movie is just ripe for parody, and yet, every comedy I see only wants to do a parody of that stupid sequence. It really got boring.

I remember one episode of the animated TV series "Clerks." A phone call for Dante, and a Morpheus send-up says, "Neo, it's me again. I still want to tell you what the Matrix is." Dante replies, "If you don't leave me alone, I'm calling the cops." Then later Morpheus calls back, "We don't have to talk about the Matrix. We could just talk about stuff. Your favorite bands. Chicks who've broken your heart. The Matrix." Ah, that was great.

I loved that episode.

Count me in for all your "I've got a bad feeling" entries. Ditto for many of your "can't wait" entries as well. And heck, while I'm at it, can I jump on your "hmm" bandwagon? Our guts are largely in sync with this latest crop, although I'm quite optimistic for The Bourne Supremacy. Did you see The Bourne Identity?

No, but I've heard great praise for The Bourne Identity, and I did catch about 15 minutes from the middle of the film one night that was promising. A friend has let me borrow the DVD, so it is in my living room right now, but I haven't had the chance to watch it yet. I noticed the director of my favorite film from last year (Bloody Sunday) will be handling this sequel, so that lifts my hopes even a bit higher. Here's hoping...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Who is playing Catwoman? if its Halle Berry I would have to agree with your gut. She is just wrong for the part.

Berry is the Catwoman, last I heard. Yeah, I'd be highly surprised if this turns out to be anything but utter crap.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Have you heard about "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"? I have mixed feelings about it. What do you think?

I've only read a bit about it, but it probably falls into my hmmm category at the moment. I know some folks are very excited, but I guess I share your feelings.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I love Charlie Kauffman, Jim Carrey, and much of the rest of the cast, but it sounds like a "Memento"-like premise being thrown onto a romantic comedy. Which could really work, or really fail. Sadly, the preview is totally incomprehensible, so that can be no indication of its quality.

It seems like our fears were misplaced, at least according to the critics.

I loved Eternal Sunshine. The art direction, film editing, and cinematography make this film work. The audience knows what's going on at all times. I was able to follow it without strain (unlike Memento, which took total concentration). It's also a very sweet romantic comedy told from a guy's perspective using a SciFi device. What's not to like?

The above conversation took place before the film was released. Here you'll find my review of the film after I finally watched it, and here you'll see it sitting on top of my favorite films of the 00's list.

So yeah, I agree with you. It turned out *much* better than I even hoped.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I bet I know what your gut has to say about this.

Yawze! That actually hurts the ol' gut!

Duly noted and added. Thanks!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Come on - Gladiator 2? The first one was a good thing - they shouldn't ruin it! Oh well, I don't have any control over what's made. This is going to be unfortunate.

I hated the first one, so you can simply imagine my excitement level... ;)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

"First one bad; don't expect sequel to be better Godfather style"

Actually, the critics DO seem to think it is better Godfather style. It's got overwhelmingly good reviews for a summer blockbuster sequel. That doesn't mean you'll like it better, of course.

96% Positive Reviews on Rotten Tomatoes? More Box Office than the original? Of course that means that LBangs will hate it! :-)

Of course I'll hate it! What do you take me for?

Actually, it does seem the chorus of critics like this one better than the first, and we all know I think the X-Men sequel clobbered the original, so my gut hopefully is wrong on this one.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

"Harold and Kumar" is getting surprisingly good reviews right off the bat. Maybe Danny Leiner took a writing / directing class.

Have you seen previews for "Shark Tale", the 3D animated movie coming out in the fall? I think it looks great.

My, that is surprising. Yet, cynical I remain, hopefully in vain.

i haven't seen the Shark trailer yet, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for it! Thanks for the heads-up!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Hey L, what does your gut tell you about Batman Begins?

The Grudge looks really dumb.

Aviator seems effy to me.

Ladder 49 looks awful.

King Kong? Why lord why?

Shall We Dance? I had a chance to see a pre-screening...because I have a brain I didn't go. :?)

T'ho

:?)

Are you really not looking forward to King Kong? Man, if LotR didn't convince you of Peter Jackson's ability to tackle the impossible adaptation, nothing will.

I do think Mr. Bangs might be feeling charitable today, though. I have uneasy feelings for many of the new "Hmm" entries. Shark Tale in particular... I'd love to be wrong though.

Glad to see you revisit this list, L!

Shark Tale is the one hmmm that almost was a bottom-rung dweller. I should probably know better, but I am hedging my bet a bit on this one.

If it was not for Jackson and the cast, I would certainly fear a King Kong remake. Instead, I am looking forward to this one. (Besides, maybe it will help speed that double-disc DVD of the original we are supposed to see soon!).

Thanks, Jim!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Shark Tale has only a 4.6 (176 votes) on IMDB from pre-screenings. For an animated feature, that's abysmal. I'm so disappointed. It's such a talented voice cast - how can that be so bad??? I thought the previews looked good.

Yikes! That certainly does not promise a masterpiece, eh?

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Robert De Niro's is a curse that just won't lift, that's how. :-)

Just kidding. I actually thought the previews looked okay, but not great, which is a bad sign in my book. If you can't even make the preview compelling, you're hosed. I thought the voice work was fine, but more of a "listen to these big stars" a la Shrek (which I liked) rather than a seamless disappearance into the characters like Pixar routinely accomplishes. And the animation just didn't wow me. Not that is has to; it all comes down to the story.

Then again, I wasn't impressed by the Finding Nemo trailers either (except for the look), and see how that prognostication turned out!

Yeah, I also initally balked at Nemo due to that trailer, and I was also in the wrong camp at the end of the day!

I think the trailer here looks poor, but I have the feeling mucho time and effort were spent on the film, so I have a hunkering suspicion it might not be all that bad. Well, maybe.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I thought Nemo looked great from the trailers, I was chompin' at the bit for 3 months.

Shark Tale looked thin, cus think about it, how do you make a movie about sharks interesting other than making an R-Rated Jaws-animated horror fest so grusome it makes the scene in Kill Bill look like child's play. But who's gonna do that?

T'ho

:?)

Remembering the Alamo (The Frighteners) I have a tentative, unnerving feeling that King Kong will turn into a big bloated epic about a gigantic ape. Think about what makes the story great, the ape loves the girl, girl learns to abide ape but they can't be together because he's 20 stories high, grumpy and hairy and she's really scared because let's face it, his dong be huge. To gain some semblance of a movie you'd have to either 1) decide to make a scene for scene remake (bad idea) 2) or you change the story (bad idea) 3) Do the opposite of what everyone expects and make a heartfelt tribute to RKO epics while gently mocking certain silly parts (good idea). I'm hoping for 3, but I'm afraid I'll get #2.

T'ho

:?)

I am not so sure the story cannot be done rather with a straight face and without shooting a scene-for-scene remake.

You could well be right. My faith in the talent could be misplaced, but it is there.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Well, on Ladder and King Kong, I gotta go with my gut.

Scratch that - that is a lie. I am mostly going off of past work of the talent behind the camera and a sneaky feeling about the future of the creative folks involved. At least, that is what highlights those two for me.

Shall We Dance will probably be bad, but I am not quite convinced it must be bad, and thus it hmmms me. :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

You're a brave man to trust in John Travolta after Battlefield Earth.

T'ho

:?)

Good point.

John's career seems to be a story of hit and miss. I have no idea where this film will fall in that jumpy narrative.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

aha my favorite being "Don't get me wrong, I like firemen just as much as the next red-blooded gal (they're big, strong, real-life heroes, what's not to like?) but something about Ladder 49, for all its slow-motion shots of burly guys in T-shirts sliding down poles and running into burning buildings with gushing hoses, made me seriously want to gag. By Leah McLaren", so I guess you were half right.

T'ho

:?)

I will be keeping my money.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

So what's your gut say about Superman?

It is still largely silent on this one, with a very slight hint of possible dread...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I'm dreading the "Assault" remake, and not just because of the January release date. What I want to know is, who the hell looked at the original and thought, "Not bad, but it could be done better"?

I doubt anybody thought that, but somebody might have thought, "Hey, what a great idea. I could do something with that."

And, obviously, some beancounter had to think, "Hey, with the right cast, we could make some money with this movie."

Or maybe not...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

i'll never see it... but i just can't imagine anyone remaking a carpenter film with any sort of success... i'm sure it'll make some money, but it'll be crap... one of the great things about carpenter's movies is the lack of high tech special effects... take that away and there isn't much you can do with it.

I garantee King Kong will be a terrible movie... you heard it here first(i'm sure).

It is the talent that give me faith in this one, not the idea itself.

If it is horrible, my gut will certainly regret not listening to you closer! :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

funny thing is i don't think the idea is that bad... it's the talent i'm worried about... or lack there of... don't get me wrong the cast looks interesting... but peter jacksons direction makes my skin crawl... i'm so jealous that someone with no talent can make whatever movie he wants.

Peter Jackson? No talent?!?!?

[chokes on half-chewed tortellini]

I didn't know your gut could speak
and for a "notorious non-fan" (using your own words here) you seem to be pretty much talking about Hal Hartley's movies as often as you can :)

My gut can certainly speak out, especially after a tasty meal of bean nachos! (You knew that one was coming, didn't you?)

I should explain in some detail what I mean by 'non-fan', but I am lazy, so you are going to get a short version. Fan(atic)s tend to be a) overly devoted, seeing little weak in an artist's body of work (I can live never seeing Unbelievable Truth or No Such Thing again), and b) overly interested in the quirks and qualities that distinguish an artist from others, and therefore loving works that are most representative of that artist's distinctiveness. As a result, most Hartley fans swear by Unbelievable Truth (which I don't really care much for) and dislike Amateur (which is my favorite).

That probably seems like hair-splitting, but there ya go!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

point well-taken and understood... and now you got me wondering if I am a fan after all :)

T'aint nothin' wrong with fandom, I just don't live in that neighborhood.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Completely (completely!) agree on your latest crop of "Hmmm" (Kung Fu Hustle, Undertow, Dark Water, Justice, Because of Winn-Dixie, Constantine, Cursed, Be Cool, Robots and Hostage). Of those, I have strangely high hopes for Constantine and twinges of dread for Be Cool, but otherwise I'm smack dab on the fence.

Be Cool might well stink; I guess I share some (OK, all) of your dread. The potential is certainly there, though...

Dark Water is the other film I should probably know better than to hope greatness from, but ah well, I hope somewhat still.

I am a hopeless hoper.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

i seriously think i'd have the pacifier and be cool switch spots... son of the mask, be cool, and anything with queen latifah are the movies i wouldn't go to if they paid me.

What little I watched of the Grammys last night convinced me that the Academy certainly could have found a better host. Both Pacifier and Cool are on the edge for me, and both could easily go either way. With memories of Stop or My Mom Will Shoot and Oscar, I am understandibly very wary of tough guys in goofy comedies. I never even bothered with Kindergarden Cop...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

even the worst tough guy in a goofy comedy movie beats out hip hop bullshit with chili palmer... i guess the fact that i hated get shorty helps you understand my wariness of be cool.

I wasn't too impressed with the original, though I find the new cast of characters a bit more interesting (Uma...). We shall see...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

You got that right on the Mindhunters, it's badissimo.

Isn't it amazing how Renny stays in work?

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Your bad feeling for Son of the Mask seem all right. 1.8 as Imdb-Rating isn't that brilliant, is it?

Gee, that trailer has been running here forever, and it looks like the film will struggle to reach the heights of Mr. Magoo and SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 . We'll see if it can scale those rare heights...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I too am now parked in "can't wait" territory for Sin City, but I'm sitting here against my better judgement.

The trailers I have caught frankly have me quite excited for this film. If they come anywhere close to the quality of the comic, we should be in for a treat!

Let's hope!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Hmm, I think I agree with you right down the line! I suppose if pressed I'd admit to Flightplan misgivings, and if pressed harder I'd admit to thinking there's hope for The Fantastic Four (then again, maybe I was just giddy from watching trailers in an actual theater for a change). As for Bewitched, I think I'm more of an "Ummmm..." rather than a "Hmmmm..."

But really, once again, our guts are in line.

Well, I've refrained from scanning any spoilers for the Foster film, so my impressions were solely from the trailer, and the trailer is very good.

Bewitched could well stink, and it does have Ferrell, although it seems he is a bit less Ferrellesque than usual. I do believe he has some straight man potential, but his attempts at wacky comedian always leave me cold. We shall see...

I hate to say, but Fantastic Four's trailer made me cringe. It looks awful, even worse than Daredevil's trailer did. I dread the approaching doom, if not Doom...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Flightplan, yup.

Bewitched/Ferrell, yup.

I think, at least, Fantastic Four will be better than Daredevil, but really the bar doesn't get much lower.

What's your opinion of the upcoming Rent adaptation?

I was much more interested in it before I heard that Chris Columbus was directing it. He can make decent films, but his involvement always seems to bring along a glass ceiling that limits every movie he touches. They can be alright, but they have never yet been great, and the limiting factor is usually him.

We'll see...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Should I assume that "Bard Pitt" is a typo, or has your estimation of him shot up that much?

I don't know anything about either The Fountain or Flightplan, but I'm suddenly interested. I'll have to look these up.

And maybe I shouldn't get my hopes up because Spielberg always disappoints me, but I love H. G. Wells, so I have to see War of the Worlds.

Johnny Waco