Nov 10, 2005


By B.E. Earl

11/10/2005 8:01 PM EST

Hey Kids! Earl here again with my most anticipated films of the upcoming Holiday Season. It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about the late studio (both big and small) releases. Okay…it hasn’t been a while, thanks to Peter Jackson and his incredible “Lord of the Rings” trilogy that was an absolute gift for movie lovers for three straight years. However, the sheer weight of potentially great films that are just around the corner makes this season one that will most likely finally get the film industry out of the doldrums that they have been experiencing of late. Yeah…I’m not very happy with the “most likely finally” part of that last sentence either. Let’s move on, shall we?

Holiday season means “blockbuster” for very many movie fans, and this season doesn’t appear likely to disappoint. With guaranteed hits in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, King Kong, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the big studios executives are already spending their Christmas bonuses. There is also a blockbuster novel or two that have been transformed to the silver screen such as Memoirs of a Geisha (with an all Asian cast) from Rob Marshall, and long-time Broadway successes like Rent and The Producers that are sure to succeed. Aside from these, the following list of films are those that I would most want to plunk down my $9.50 for:

· Get Rich or Die Tryin’ – I know, I know. A biopic of 50 Cent seems to be a bit out of my taste when it comes to movies, but this one is directed by Irish auteur Jim Sheriden (My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father). He looks to add some weight to this story of a street kid who sets asides his drug-dealing ways to become a rap star.

· Walk the Line – I’ve gotten a late start on my fascination with the Man in Black, but this looks to be an awesome portrayal of life and times of Johnny Cash as played by a spot-on Joaquin Phoenix. Both Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon (as June Carter Cash) do all their own singing, so this could even be a step-up in Oscar-worthy performances from Jamie Foxx in last year’s Ray.

· The Ice Harvest – Directed by Harold Ramis and including the talents of John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Randy Quaid (why is his face so big?) and Connie Nielsen, this looks to be the hit that we Cusack fans have been waiting some number of years for. Or maybe not.

· Aeon Flux – Just to see Charlize Theron jumping around barely dressed while shooting guns. Nice!

· Brokeback Mountain – Just kidding. I saw a seemingly endless trailer for this hunk ‘o junk the other day and I thought I was going to pass out in my popcorn. Gay cowboys? Well, Slyde might like it.

· The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada – Tommy Lee Jones’ directorial debut, this film is about a Texas rancher intent on avenging the murder of a Mexican friend. Jones also stars, and it just has that feel about it that could make it a big winner come Oscar time. It has already cleaned up at Cannes winning the writing award (for Guillermo Arriaga) and the acting prize for Jones. I can’t wait for this one.

· Hostel – A good old Horror yarn about three American tourists whose stay in an Eastern European hostel goes horribly wrong. Quentin Tarantino is the executive producer (no guarantee) and Eli Roth of Cabin Fever fame directs.

· The New World – This one has all the trappings of a massive box office bomb. Lavish costume period piece starring Colin Farrell and directed by genius director. It’s not Alexander by Oliver Stone, but it could be. Terence Malick, who looks to rebound from the poor critical and commercial success of The Thin Red Line, directs this tale of the violent colonization of the Americas. If he can make this even half as good as Badlands, then it will be well worth seeing.

There are a few others in the mix that look to be exciting, but those are the ones that I am most eager to see on the big screen. I was going to include Big Momma’s House 2, but since that doesn’t come out until late January I thought it might not be appropriate to include it with a Holiday Season round up. Maybe when we talk about 2006’s Oscar races. Maybe.