Part four of four. Done.
Movie: All the King's Men (Steve Zaillian)
High-Concept Synopsis: Sean Penn plays a southern political demagogue, with Jude Law as his reluctant accomplice/enabler. Patricia Clarkson, Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Anthony Hopkins, and Mark Ruffalo co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of good, old-fashioned political drama. Fans of the ridiculously talented cast. Fans of Sean Penn's "You, sir, are no Jude Law" speech from last year's Oscars.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Anyone, at least this year. It just got moved to 2006.
Why I'd See It: The cast is stunning, and while it's a remake, it's also an adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and the story is damn good.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Have to listen to Sean Penn extol the virtues of another one of his co-stars.
Movie: The Producers (Susan Stroman)
High-Concept Synopsis: It's a movie! It's a musical! It's a movie about the musical about the movie! Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and Uma Thurman star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who wanted to see it during its blockbuster Broadway run, but the price was high and New York was far away. People curious to see if Nathan Lane uses his "inside voice" now that he's not singing to the back row. Whatever is left of Mel Brooks.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who lost their hearing due to Nathan Lane long ago. The Zero Mostel Society For the Perpetually Bug-Eyed. HBO subscribers who think it won't be the same without Larry David's awful acting and off-key warbling.
Why I'd See It: I hear the Broadway production was great fun. And I do like Uma Thurman. But those leads . . .
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: See Lane and Broderick in an off-Broadway version of Oleanna. [And the award for strangest non-sequiter goes to …]
Movie: Fun Dick and Jane (Dean Parisot)
High-Concept Synopsis: Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni are a married couple who become oh-so-comical thieves to make ends meet.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who are really, really tired from all the Christmas shopping and need to get off of their feet. Badly.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who have found Carrey's overt style of comedy rightly irritating. People who have found Leoni's stalwart devotion to pointy-faced irritation somewhat off-putting. People who haven't been seen since a screening of the trailer created a black hole of unfunny.
Why I'd See It: Bribery. [*Hint*]
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Get trampled to death by the holiday mall crowds.
Movie: Freedomland (Joe Roth)
High-Concept Synopsis: A white lady (Julianne Moore) says a black guy jacked her car and drove away with her kid in the back seat. Sound familiar? Samuel L. Jackson is the cop on the case.
Who Will Be Seeing It: The Susan Smith Society For Racist Child-Killing Bitches. The unflappable Julianne Moore fan base, who are practically begging her to make a good movie again. Drunken college meatheads yearning to scream "Mmm, mmm, bitch!" at Jackson's every appearance on screen.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Anyone who takes too close a look at director Joe "America's Sweethearts / Christmas with the Kranks" Roth's CV. People who have turned to dust waiting for Moore and Jackson to get their careers back on track. Holiday audiences looking for a better time than "Mom gets her kid abducted and may or may not have killed him herself."
Why I'd See It: It's a great role for Moore, who I still have faith in, and the subject matter and trailer look promising.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: See Christmas with the Kranks. Ever.
Movie: Mrs. Henderson Presents (Stephen Frears)
High-Concept Synopsis: Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins become burlesque club proprietors in WWII London.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of randy period comedy from across the pond. Folks looking forward to Judi Dench's star turn. People looking for boobies!
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Prudish socialite types who clutch their pearls and drop their monocles at such tawdry behavior. Audiences who mistake the plot description as a promise that Dench and Hoskins will be the ones going Full Monty. Janet Jackson, jealous that her tits aren't the only that can cause a stir.
Why I'd See It: It's a maybe Oscar contender, particularly for Dench and Hoskins. And it's not out of the question that I'd enjoy it.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Have that dream where I show up to the burlesque revue fully clothed. How embarrassing!
Movie: Munich (Steven Spielberg)
High-Concept Synopsis: After the Black September murders at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Israeli Mossad agents set to the task of tracking down the perpetrators and seeking their vengeance.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Spielberg devotees anxious for a look at his latest awards-grab. People – like me – who are fascinated by the subject matter. Oscar watchers who will need to see the movie that's been touted as a front-runner since before it began filming.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People put off by the political content of the film. People put off by the pre-ordained "Best Picture" status of the film. People who don't think "happy ending" Spielberg can do the story justice.
Why I'd See It: It's the 800 lb. gorilla in the 2005 Oscar race. Everyone who's anyone will need an opinion on it. Plus, the Munich games are terribly, sadly, fascinating to me.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Amistad, the last "important" film Spielberg tried to spring on Oscar at the last minute. And that one didn't work.
Movie: The Ringer (Barry Blaustein)
High-Concept Synopsis: Johnny Knoxville plays an ethically impaired debtor who tries to make some quick cash by fraudulently entering in the Special Olympics. Like, can we send Mossad agents after him?
Who Will Be Seeing It: People desperate for a comedy … any comedy … this winter. People who buy into the Farrelly Bros. (who are producing) party line that if they make fun of everybody, it can't possibly be offensive. People who have never heard of South Park and are thus unaware that they did an episode with the exact same plot.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who are rightly offended by the plot. People who found the trailer to be painfully unfunny. Brian Cox fans who are holding strong on their "tough love" program of ignoring him when he makes bad movies.
Why I'd See It: Dudes, South Park did this exact same story! Except theirs was funny! It's not like the Farrellys are courting a different audience here. Morons. Plus, they haven't been actually funny in a dog's age. But … okay, it's got Katherine Heigl. Still, no.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: See Heigl and Cox rescued from the flaming wreckage of this film with a helicopter and a rope ladder. Oh, wait. I'd rather see that.
Movie: Casanova (Lasse Hallstrom)
High-Concept Synopsis: Heath Ledger plays the legendary lothario. Err, well, not the legendary Lothario. More like the legendary Don Juan. No, that doesn't work either. Look, he plays a guy named Casanova, who boned a lot of women in his time. His time being mid-18th Century Venice. Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, and Lena Olin co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: The cult of Ledger, which now included both the swooning and those who respect his talent, now that it appears he has some. The Lasse Hallstrom brigade who figured what Johnny Depp was to Chocolat, Heath may be to Casanova. Namely, an easy orgasm. The Lena Olin Fan Club, who will take what they can get these days.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who figure if they want sex fiends from several hundred years ago, they've got Johnny Depp in The Libertine to tide them over. People who wouldn't see a Lasse Hallstrom movie if you paid them. Prudish high society types who flip their powdered wigs at … look, I've made this joke like three times now. Some people just won't see a movie with sex in it. Or, at least, won't see that kind of movie with other people in the room. *Ahem*
Why I'd See It: Meh. It's almost definitely a wait-for-DVDer. Too many other good movies around.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Study up on the semantic differences between "Casanova," "lothario," and "Don Juan." Although, come to think of it, that might be some interesting research, right there.
Movie: Match Point (Woody Allen)
High-Concept Synopsis: Set in London, this is a tale of infidelity, seduction, and greed stars Scarlett Johansson, Johnathan Rhys-Myers, and Emily Mortimer, and is directed by … Woody Allen??
Who Will Be Seeing It: Movie fans who are dying to see Woody try something so outside his usual wheelhouse. Audiences relieved to find that, even after casting Scarlett Johansson as his female lead, Woody resisted the temptation to write himself into the script as her love interest. People who would gladly fork over nine bucks to stare at Jonathan Rhys-Myers for a few hours.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: The Woody Allen Society for Nebbishy New York Jews, who are upset that the Wood-man took his latest film across the pond. The Woody Allen Society for Horndog Old Geezers, who are upset at Allen for failing to capitalize on his ScarJo opportunity. The Woody Allen Society for Crappy Woody Allen Movies, who are upset that Soo-Yi's husband seems to have actually made a good film for a change.
Why I'd See It: The trailer suggests an exciting step out of Allen's old standbys. Johansson and Rhys-Myers look sizzling together.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Anything Woody directed in the last ten years or so.
Movie: The New World (Terrence Malick)
High-Concept Synopsis: John Smith and the rest of the Virginia company stomp into the New World and make friends with the indigenous people they find there. If by "make friends," you mean kill off and take their nubile young daughters back to England to marry them. Colin Farrell, Christian Bale, and Christopher Plummer star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: American history fetishists, Colin Farrell groupies, and the Cult of Malick, who are eagerly awaiting to cream themselves over this latest, sure to be, masterpiece of cinema.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: People who bet on the Farrell pony and lost last year with Alexander. People who tend to find Malick's movies, while beautiful, insufferably slow and ponderous. The Mayflower Society, who are pissed that their colonial exploits aren't being memorialized on film. They massacred the Indians, too, you know!
Why I'd See It: It will undoubtedly look beautiful. And the Farrell, Bale, Plummer triumvirate certainly have it in them to deliver.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: The Thin Red Line, for Pete's sake. Life's too short to spend half of it watching Ben Chaplin daydream.
Movie: Rumor Has It (Rob Reiner)
High-Concept Synopsis: Jennifer Aniston kind of freaks when she finds out that her family's life was the basis for the book and film The Graduate. Which makes her grandmother (Shirley MacLaine) Mrs. Robinson. Kevin Costner, Mark Ruffalo, and Mena Suvari.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Post-modern enthusiasts who will love the meta-textual nature of the plot. People magazine readers who want Aniston to succeed after Angelina Jolie's irresistible powers of seduction broke up her marriage. Dustin Hoffman, who figured the six-degrees relationship he holds with this film might be the closest he'll get to success in a while.
Who Won’t Be Seeing It: Audiences squicked out by a possible Aniston-Costner onscreen pairing. People who have vowed to just stop seeing Mark Ruffalo in romantic comedies anymore. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who will be too busy fornicating and adopting babies to care.
Why I'd See It: Despite my initial misgivings, the trailer suggested perfectly acceptable mainstream comedy. Even Kevin Costner – playing himself for the 811th time on film – doesn't bug me the way he used to.
I'd Rather See This Movie Than: Exhume Anne Bancroft's corpse for a comparison study with MacLaine.