The Shape of Things to Come, IV

It really feels as if there hasn’t been anything on at the cinema lately. In fact, I realise now that I’ve been just twice this year and the year is halfway gone already, so somebody, somewhere along the line, is slacking.

First, the customary recap of the last Things to ComeV for Vendetta and X-Men: The Last Stand were both seen at the cinema, and both were mostly awful. On DVD, I saw The Libertine, which I found to be a fairly limp, unsatisfying affair, Mrs. Henderson Presents which managed to be incredibly boring despite having lots of naked women, and Kinky Boots, which I found to be charmingly acceptable and worth watching just for seeing Chiwetel Ejiofor as a butch transvestite.

So, all things considered, 2006 has not so far been a good year for films. But will what’s still to come change that? Superman Returns arrives in just a couple of weeks and reviews have been uniformly excellent, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is due to arrive in a month or so, which will be dreadful but potentially amusing. I’m still waiting for A Scanner Darkly but I don’t think I have to wait much longer…

Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) returns with his big-budget epic The Fountain, which we should be excited about not just because he’s a fabulously fucked-up director but because David Bowie is rumoured to be making a third Major Tom song just for this film. Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz (she who will be my wife) star, and the story…well, to be honest, I’ve not the faintest idea. I mean, look at the official website — it tells you nothing! Brilliant.

Clerks 2 — we can only assume that Kevin Smith’s decision to end this series of films with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back has gone a little awry. Relocated to a burger bar, this seems to be a retelling rather than a sequel — the characters all appear to be the same, as do the situations. Oh well, it’ll probably still be funny. I do like what Smith is doing with the film commentary — making it available as a free download so you can return to the cinema and watch it again with the commentary on your ipod. Expect people with leaky headphones to receive a good kicking, however.

The Wicker Man has been remade, moved from a remote Scottish island to some sort of mid-western American community and with Nicholas Cage in the lead. Wrong on so many levels.

Having run out of Ian Fleming novels to adapt, the James Bond franchise loops around to start again from the beginning, with Daniel ‘face like a bag of spanners’ Craig as the lead in Casino Royale. Fans of the franchise have protested that he’s miscast but I’m not losing any sleep over it — with the film aiming to reduce the level of ridiculous gadgetry from the Q department and portray a darker, grittier Bond, I’m all for it — there’s only so many invisible cars and robot suits I can cope with.

This year’s retro reimagining is Miami Vice, though sadly set in present day Miami instead of the 80s, and played straight. I’m optimistic about this one because it’s directed by Michael Mann, he of Heat and Collateral fame — expect this to be long, grittily- and carefully-filmed and starring Jamie ‘great actor, shame about the R&B’ Foxx.

Finally, M. Night Shyamalan returns with nursery rhyme-gone-bad Lady in the Water. I’m not sure what to make of this one. To be honest, I think it looks like ten kinds of arse but despite the tedious The Village and the ‘Catholicism Yay!’ Signs, Shyamalan has proven himself to be a capable storyteller before. Well, perhaps once.