Of those mentioned six months ago; I didn’t watch Fantastic Four or The Dukes of Hazzard as they looked awful, I saw Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire and King Kong and thought they were so-so and I saw The Island, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Serenity and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and liked them all. A Scanner Darkly seems to have slipped into a Summer 2006 release so hopefully I’ll get to see that in a few months.
This year’s comic book selection includes Superman Returns, V for Vendetta and X-Men 3. Superman Returns sees Superman returning to earth after a five-year hiatus (during which he apparently has been visiting Krypton — didn’t that explode?), though with Smallville still on TV and Lois and Clark only a few years before that, it doesn’t feel as if he’s been away at all. Brandon Routh is the new Kal-El but looks more like a bloke on his way to a fancy-dress party than the Man of Steel and I’m not certain I can stomach the biblical parallels (‘I have sent them you…my only son…’). Bryan Singer is the director here though, so it has potential.
When Singer took up directorial duties on Superman Returns he left X-Men 3 in the charge of Brett Ratner, director of Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2 and, ooh, Rush Hour 3! Not sure what the plot here is aside from the ‘Dark Phoenix’ story. Judging from the trailer it looks like some sort of big fight between, I don’t know, some people and some mutants and some other mutants. I liked the previous two films, and am hoping to like this one as well. Kelsey Grammar as Beast is a bonus.
Finally, we have the serious political comic story. Based on the Alan Moore comic of the same name, V for Vendetta looks nuts but the Wachowski connection is a cause for concern given the sorry state of the two Matrix sequels. Moore has also publically distanced himself from the film which is a worry. I really want it to be good, but with a strong cast and a weak director (James McTeigue) it could go either way.
You will not like me.
Two films starring Johnny Depp have caught my eye, being The Libertine and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. The Libertine is thankfully not a Pete Doherty biopic but instead is the story of the decadent John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester. Depp looks like he’s having fun, at least, as he does in the second Pirates film, which we’ll all be seeing regardless of whether it’s any good or not.
You could decorate a child’s nursery in this colour.
As far as the Brits are concerned, there’s a couple of unusual and interesting films starring the likes of Steve Coogan, Judi Dench and other British institutions. Michael Winterbottom gets around the apparently-unfilmable nature of the 18th Century novel Tristram Shandy by filming the filming of it instead. Steve Coogan is joined by Rob Brydon, Dylan Moran, David Walliams, Stephen Fry and honourary Brit Gillian Anderson.
Mrs. Henderson Presents stars Judi Dench as the widow Mrs. Laura Henderson, who attempts to bring a nude variety show to a London theatre during World War 2. Rated ‘R’ in the US and ’12’ in the UK, suggesting that this will be a tame, Sunday-afternoon sort of film.
Finally, there’s Kinky Boots, the story of a shoe manufacturer who turns to the lucrative transvestite market to help the ailing business. It’s nice to see that in this day and age of overblown blockbusters and their special effects, the British film industry is still capable of making comedies based on men dressed as women.