The second in a four-part preview of the umpty-billion movies set to open before the year ends.
Movie: Where the Truth Lies (Atom Egoyan)
High-Concept Synopsis: Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth are an amazingly successful 1950s comedy team. They perform, they have three ways, and they may have killed a girl way back when. Alison Lohman is on the case.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Kevin Bacon enthusiasts who didn't get enough Bacon meat in Wild Things. A certain sect of Martin and Lewis fans who always thought there was a little something else going on there. Folks who can't get enough of that Egoyan "feel bad" style.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who seem more than a little put off by how nonspecifically creepy Colin Firth comes off in the previews. People who wish Alison Lohman would just pick an age and go with it. The other sect of Martin and Lewis fans who are patently offended that anyone might thing there was something else going on there.
Why I'd See It: Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter is one of the two greatest "that flick was fantastic, I never want to see it again" movies I've ever seen (make room, Requiem for a Dream).
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Have lived it.
Movie: Chicken Little (Mark Dindal)
High-Concept Synopsis: Zach Braff voices the little chicken who thinks the sky is falling. Animated hijinks ensue.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Children for whom Jarhead just aint gonna cut it as Saturday afternoon entertainment. Fans of Braff who dig him even in animated form. Disney executives desperate not to look bad in comparison to Dreamworks and Pixar.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Zoological purists who will bore the shit out of you, insisting the word "chicken" in the title means it's a girl, not a boy. Pissed off chicken advocates who object to the term "little" demeaning their status. PETA, most likely. Those shrieking harpies never have any fun.
Why I'd See It: The voice cast is pretty great. There's Braff, Steve Zahn, Amy Sedaris, Joan Cusack, Harry Shearer, Patrick Stewart, Don Knotts, Wallace Shawn, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard, Adam West, and Patrick Warburton. Love to see the animated movies casting for actual expressive voices and not just "name" stars.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Another Shrek movie.
Movie: Jarhead (Sam Mendes)
High-Concept Synopsis: Jake Gyllenhall's a new recruit in the first President Bush's army, and thus gets to experience Operation Desert Storm with a sardonic eye. Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard, and Chris Cooper co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Anyone who has seen the stellar trailers. Fans of the novel of the same name upon which the movie's based. People who would rather their war films with a bit less rah-rah.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: A certain administration who would rather not have unpleasant reminders about war in the Middle East. A certain administration who isn't all that psyched about Kanye "Somebody Hates Black People, and I Know Who" West's "Jesus Walks" in the trailer. People whose admiration for Mendes's work (American Beauty; Road to Perdition) has paled over the years.
Why I'd See It: From the looks of it, it could contend for my own personal "best of the year." I love Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard, and their both supposedly excellent. I think this is a movie that's going to have something to say.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Watch another staged Q&A with the President.
Movie: The Dying Gaul (Craig Lucas)
High-Concept Synopsis: Peter Sarsgaard plays a screenwriter involved in a twisted love/lust/betrayal triangle with Campbell Scott and Patricia Clarkson.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who have just been dying to see Campbell Scott and Peter Sarsgaard in some dude-on-dude seduction scene. All four of them. Supporting actor enthusiasts who see the Sarsgaard/Clarkson pairing as the Bogie-Bacall of American second bananas. Fans of director Lucas's previous screenwriting efforts The Secret Lives of Dentists and Longtime Companion.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Actors who would like to see Lucas give someone other than Campbell Scott the chance to star in one of his movies, for once. Idiots who for some reason don't like Patricia Clarkson. Senator Rick Santorum.
Why I'd See It: Sarsgaard and Clarkson. It's a perfect storm of acting, if you ask me. And Scott's no slouch himself.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: See Sarsgaard in anything like Flightplan ever again.
Movie: The Family Stone (Thomas Bezucha)
High-Concept Synopsis: Dermott Mulroney brings his uptight fiancé Sarah Jessica Parker home to meet his laid-back family, populated by Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Craig T. Nelson, and Luke Wilson.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People desperate for a romantic dramedy about family that is actually funny. People won over by the quite winning trailer. The teeming hordes of Dermott Mulroney fans. You know who you are.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Sex and the City haters who are sick to damn death of SJP. Rachel McAdams haters who are pissed at how incredibly awesome she is. Oh, and also: Anyone. Since it's opening the same weekend as King Kong. Dumb ass studio.
Why I'd See It: The preview looks great, with Keaton and McAdams looking particularly awesome.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Dare I say . . . King Kong? People, it's an ape fighting a dinosaur!
Movie: Pride and Prejudice (Joe Wright)
High-Concept Synopsis: Jane Austen hits the screen again, as Kiera Knightley does the whole I-love-you-I-love-you-not thing with Matthew McFayden. Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, and Judi Dench co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Costume drama enthusiasts, Jane Austen book club members, and people who liked Kiera Knightley in that movie where she's the flat-chested soccer player.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who would rather eat a Jane Austen novel than read it. Folks who are rightly horrified at the present condition of Donald Sutherland's face. Colin Firth, who thought HE was the definitive Mr. Darcy and thinks Matthew McFayden has a stupid face.
Why I'd See It: If it's done well, I can enjoy a good costume drama. And Jane Austen really is a pretty snappy writer.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Get bound up in a corset.
Movie: Zathura (Jon Favreau)
High-Concept Synopsis: Like Jumanji, except in space. And no Robin Williams.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who liked Jumanji well enough, but thought it could use Dax Sheppard as an astronaut. People who liked Jumanji but thought it could use a little less of Bonnie Hunt's wry wit. Jon Favreau's family.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Robin Williams's vulgar, sweaty stand-up comic persona. Robin Williams's PG-rated funny-voices film comedy persona. Robin Williams's sappy sweet very-special-drama persona.
Why I'd See It: . . . umm . . . well . . . the thing is, I'm not going to see it. Really. Not.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: See above. Aint happening.
Movie: Breakfast on Pluto (Neil Jordan)
High-Concept Synopsis: Cillian Murphy leaves his orphaned existence in small town Ireland to become a celebrated drag queen in 1960s London.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Midwestern farmers and Catholic nuns. Who do you think is going to see it? Drag queens, trannies, and anyone who thinks pink. Also: anyone who's been suitably impressed with Jordan's stellar filmography and/or Murphy's burgeoning career.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Midwestern farmers and Catholic nuns. That one you can keep.
Why I'd See It: Neil Jordan absolutely rules. And Cillian Murphy aint so bad either.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Any other Irish orphan drag queen movie opening in November.
Movie: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mike Newell)
High-Concept Synopsis: In his fourth year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter deals with rival magic schools, a death-defying tournament, and Ralf Feinnes as Voldemort.
Who Will Be Seeing It: If you've been reading the books and seeing the movies so far, why would you ever stop before this most pivotal chapter?
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Those of us who have lost the child within. Oh, okay, I won't hold it against non-Potter fans. But y'all are missing some great storytelling.
Why I'd See It: Take a look at the trailer. This could very well be the best Potter flick yet.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Breathe. Okay, that was a little extreme. I'll go with "breathe for an hour."
Movie: Walk the Line (James Mangold)
High-Concept Synopsis: Johnny Cash walks the line. Johnny Cash fell into a burning ring of fire. Johnny Cash is played by Joaquin Phoenix, while Reese Witherspoon plays his wife June Carter.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Cash's hordes of true fans. The depressingly significant hordes of poseur Cash fans who really only know "Ring of Fire" but think it was cool that he dressed in black, played a prison concert, and sings about shooting a man just to watch him die. Not that they'd know the song that line comes from anyway. Anyone who's heard the deafening hype for the lead performances.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Fans of Mangold's Girl Interrupted who don't think they'd really fit in with the Cash crowd. People who have a visceral anti-Witherspoon reaction. People who find Phoenix to take himself a liiiittle too seriously.
Why I'd See It: The performances are supposed to be really, really good. And while I don't claim to be some big fan, I tend to like Cash and am interested in his story. [How's that for covering some bases?]
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Be killed in Reno, just so someone could watch me die.
Coming up next: The singing Bohemians of Rent; Lions, Witches, and Wardrobes, and Johnny Depp's got syphillis!