Howl's Moving Castle (U.S. release; www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/howl)
Kevin: Everyone should be required to see this movie.
Peggy: I remember enjoying the book sometime in the distant
past, so it could be worth a look.
Jayme: Could Howl be anywhere near the masterpiece
Spirited Away is? Can any movie be? Ooh, we can hope, can't we?
Batman Begins (www.batmanbegins.com)
Joe: Full circle for Morgan Freeman, who started out working
with Spider-Man on Electric Company.
Peggy: Sure, why not? Heck, I'll go see it just because Joel
Schumacher had nothing to do with it.
Rick: This looks really cool . . . but I've been
Jayme: I'm cautiously optimistic, taking solace in the fact
that no matter how bad it ultimately is, there's no way it can stoop to the
depths of those Schumacher-helmed travesties.
Jason: Directed by the same guy who directed Memento.
Plus, Christian Bale (American Psycho, Equilibrium, Reign of Fire)
is pretty much guaranteed to be a better Batman than Keaton, Kilmer and
Clooney combined. A dream cast if I've ever seen one — Bale, Freeman,
Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe. The only
thing missing is Johnny Depp. Guaranteed to be miles better than any Marvel
property released this year, including (sorry, true believers) The Fantastic
Mark: Two villains, one of them really dumb-looking, a revamped
origin sequence, and the most bland and unassuming actor since Sam Neill to
don the Bat-Cowl. Then there's the cute scene in the previews where young master
Bruce is driving the Batmobile Lunar Buggy around and asks, "Does it come
in black?" (shades of "Alfred, let's go shopping" from the Tim
If Birds of Prey was the last Bat-themed thing to leave the Warner
Brothers office, is there ANY reason on God's Green Earth, why I should trust
this movie to not suck? Yeah, I didn't think so. It'd be nice to be wrong. Like
how I was wrong about the X-Men. I just said X-Men to remind
you that the bar for superhero movies (Spider-Man) has been raised
substantially since the last time we saw a Bat-Movie.
War of the Worlds (Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg version;
Jason: Another chance for Cruise and Spielberg to upgrade
a great SF author's vision with ridiculous action set pieces and gross-out humor.
(Minority Report, anyone?) It'll be entertaining in a pedestrian post-1993
Spielberg sort of way.
Rick: One Spielberg/Cruise butchering of a science fiction
story was enough for an entire lifetime.
Kevin: I'm sorry, but nothing can ever compare to the glorious
Jayme: Didn't we see this one a few years ago? Only it starred
Will Smith and was called Independence Day?
Joe: What's next? Sandra Bullock's Forbidden Planet?
Mark: No, it'll be Jennifer Lopez' Metropolis. "Don't
be fooled by the size of the rock. I'm still a robot from the block." Dude,
that's the crossover appeal they've been looking for. The Tom Cruise version
of WotW will be full of pretty stuff going boom. That's about it. At least it
will be better than Independence Day. . . .
Shane: Speaking of parodies we'll hopefully never see, don't
forget Will Smith's I, Robot — oh, right.
Peggy: Jessica Lange's King Kong . . .
Tom Cruise's Minority Repo . . . damn, this is getting depressing.
Shane: Denise Richards' Starship Troopers —
John Travolta's Battlefield Earth — well, at least that one
didn't have far to fall.
Great. Now I have to mope.