Hey folks, Harry here with Mirajeff's picks for the films to watch in 2006 - and he's done a pretty damn good job, though I do have a few additions to the list I'd like to mention first, that didn't make his list.
1) BLACK SNAKE MOAN - this is an incredibly anticipated film for me this year. Craig Brewer made my favorite film of 2005 with HUSTLE & FLOW - and this film, starring Christina Ricci as a nymphomaniac and Samuel L Jackson as.... well that's the surprise. I hear that Justin Timberlake is amazing in the film - and yes, I know that sounds about as likely as a brilliant Freddie Prinze Jr... but I'm hearing from a lot of filmmakers that Justin's making the turn into a powerful actor! I'm also dying to see Sam Jackson's SNAKES ON THE MUTHERFUCKIN' PLANE this year too!
2) CYBORG GIRL - Chan Wook Park's film after LADY VENGEANCE (which Tartan Films will release in March and AICN will be hosting screenings all over the country for). CYBORG GIRL is about a girl in a mental institution that believes she's an incredibly powerful cyborg living in a war between humans and machines. Ultimately it's a love story about her and another patient amidst the delusions and insanity of the asylum. As the Title character we get: Kang Hye-Jung from OLDBOY! Can not wait to see this!
3) HAIL CAESAR - The Coen Brothers next film, which apparently will start shooting soon. I've heard it will complete the idiot trilogy starring George Clooney and is set in the 1920's with a theater group trying to put on a production of Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESAR! I don't know about you, but instantly I think this is genius.
4) SCOOP - Woody Allen's second outing with Scarlet Johansson is a must see after watching their first film together, MATCH POINT, the best Woody in years. If Woody has found in Scarlet a new actress to be inspired to create for, then we're in for a massive treat! I hope this is the case.
5) MARIE ANTOINETTE - Sofia Coppola's trailer blew me away with its vitality and charge. Can't wait to see this film, I've just got a feeling that this is going to be incredibly special. Kirsten's got the right neck for Antoinette, heh - and Jason Schwartzman as Louis XVI is just bizarre - but it works with Kirsten's Marie - I think. Could be amazing. Dying to see Asia Argento's Madame du Barry!
6) ROMAN - Directorial Debut of Angela Bettis (star of MAY) - written by Lucky McKee (director of MAY) and starring Lucky McKee - this is the companion piece film to MAY. A film about lonliness, love and the comedy of life. I've seen a 9 minute teaser for it that was just haunting and tragic. Beautiful looking story.
7) PAN'S LABYRINTH - The third Guillermo Del Toro Spanish language "fairy tale". First was CRONOS, then came THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE... This film is on a greater scale than any of those, yet at the same time is vastly more intimate. This will be one of the best films of 2006. It is set during the Spanish Revolution and deals with a little girl in the middle of the revolution that discovers a scary magical world.
8) A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION - Robert Altman's latest starring: Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Garrison Keillor, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph, Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin. It's an adaptation of a very popular radio program. It's getting it's premiere at this year's SXSW!
9) TALES OF THE RAT FINK - One of my favorite documentarians is Ron Mann, who has made COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL, GRASS, TWIST and others that I've loved. This time his laser-beamed focus is upon a genius of American Pop-Culture - Ed "Big Daddy" Roth - the man responsible for the greatest innovations in the designing of hot rods and custom cars. It's a pure car fetishists' fevered fantasy and knowing Ron Mann's documentary style, I'm dying to see its premiere at SXSW!
10) THE CHILDREN OF MEN - Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, this science fiction film set in 2027 when inexplicably man can no longer procreate - a single pregnate woman is taken to be studied as the possible savior of humankind. Starring Michael Caine, Julianne Moore, Clive Owen and a host of others - this is the exact sort of material I dream of Cuaron getting his hands on!
11) SHOOT 'EM UP - In what really wants and hopes to be the biggest baddest cool outrageous gunplay film in the history of mankind - we have SHOOT 'EM UP. It stars Clive Owen in a role that would make Chow Yun Fat weak in the knees. Co-stars Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci - and an unknown as the baby. This could be a fucking blast.
Well - those are the eleven films I can think of that aren't listed below that I know I'm dying to see in the year ahead. If you happen to come across or know anything about these films and would like to help with our coverage of the titles you find on this page, by all means let me AICN know at This Address which Moriarty, Quint and I all get a copy of. Pics, information, test screenings, rumors... we love it all as it's the foreplay that leads to the final act. Happy 2006 Everyone - and hopefully we'll get a little film called 2GETHER 4EVER this year too!
Greetings AICN, MiraJeff here with a look at my Most Anticipated films of 2006, which is shaping up to be a hell of a year. My Best Of 2005 List will be up shortly, but for now, here are 80 movies to whet your appetites. Enjoy, and then go on the talkbacks and let her rip.
1. The DaVinci Code- Sorry, but it’s true. Loved the book and can’t wait to see how the film plays out now that we all know the twists. Besides, you gotta show Tom Hanks and Ron Howard some love.
2. Superman Returns- Yes, the trailer looked that good. We’ll see if Routh can fill out those tights. Lord knows Spacey’s gonna bring the pain as Lex and as Lois, Bosworth just drips sex. Why doesn’t she get as much attention as Jessica Alba?
3/4. Zodiac/ The Black Dahlia- I love David Fincher and I love movies about serial killers. Remember Se7en? Plus, I’m a sucker for true crime stories and DePalma is a master of suspense. These movies will both kick unruly ass.
5. Southland Tales- The script is solid, but what will be interesting to see is whether Richard Kelly’s quirky casting (ex-SNLers?) pays off, and how it will affect the tone of the film. Now when will those graphic novels be available?
6. The Departed- I got to work as a PA for one day with the 2nd unit. Still counts as working on a Scorcese picture. The source material is excellent (Infernal Affairs #5 on last year’s Best Of list), the cast is superb (Jack’s back) and the movie is set in Boston. What more do you want?
7. A Scanner Darkly- Radiohead, you’re my favorite band in the world. Please score this film. It looks amazing, and Woody Harrelson is the man. I wish more movies looked like this.
8. The Fountain- The director is a genius and the trailer intrigued me. If it doesn’t work, there’s always Aronofsky’s LOST episode to look forward to. Plus, I’m not normally a fan of Hugh, but…
9. X3- this movie looks cool. Maybe it was the brooding music that matched the trailer’s editing, or maybe it’s just that I’ve read the first 2 acts of the script and know what surprises Ratner has in store for us, but I’m excited about this one. Honestly though, it’s gonna be tough to top X2.
10. Grind House- As long as Tarantino cuts down on presenting, and keeps directing, I’ll continue paying 11 bucks to go to the movies. This sounds like a great idea and I can’t wait to see those fake trailers.
11/12. World Trade Center/ Flight 93- I’ve read the WTC script and it will not be an overview of 9/11. Instead, Oliver Stone has chosen to focus on two of the heroes, and I’m psyched that Michael Pena is one of them. He gave the year’s best supporting performance in Crash, which was largely overshadowed (as far as awards are concerned) by Dillon and Cheadle. Flight 93 will be the first 9/11 story released and director Paul Greengrass’ film concerns the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania and the heroic efforts of its passengers to stop the terrorists.
13. V For Vendetta- I admit, after hearing everyone at BNAT rave about this film, I got excited. I also get excited over Natalie Portman, even with her head shaved.
14. Miami Vice- Love Colin’s sleazy look. He and Foxx make a bad-ass duo, plus Naomie Harris is seriously the hottest woman I have ever seen in person. If Michael Mann gets this anywhere near Heat or Collateral, I will start walking around NY wearing a white jacket.
15. Flags of Our Fathers- Clint promises to go 3 for 3 after Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby, and the material should allow the young cast (Paul Walker, Jesse Bradford, Barry Pepper, and Ryan Phillippe) to show off their acting chops.
16. Lady In the Water- M. Night returns with, what’s this, a bedtime story? In any case, Giammatti is one of the best actors working today, Bryce is the real deal, and the trailer has some serious atmosphere going for it. I’d see anything Shyamalan makes.
17. Inside Man- It doesn’t look like a Spike Lee film. It doesn’t sound like a Spike Lee Film. But it’s got Oscar pedigree with Denzel, Jodie Foster, and my new favorite asskicker, Clive Owen. That trailer is intense.
18. Brick- This movie set Sundance on fire and the trailer makes it looks like film noir for teens. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was incredible in Mysterious Skin, and hopefully this will be his breakout year.
19. Mission: Impossible: III- Enough colons for ya? The trailer looks sharp (love that blast knocking Tom off his feet) but I think it has a tough release date in over-crowded May, although with two hotties joining the team (Michelle Mongahan and Keri Russell) and Truman Capote as the baddie, this movie could be Tom’s saving grace after a bad PR year for him. J.J. Abrams should is a good fit for this franchise.
20. Poseidon- Sure it looks like The Perfect Storm, and why shouldn’t it? It’s the same director (Wolfgang Petersen). Doesn’t mean Kurt Russell and Josh Lucas won’t put the hurt on the king of the ocean.
21. Young Hannibal- Although Hopkins isn’t behind the mask in this prequel, the screenplay is by author Thomas Harris and Lecter as a character has always been fascinating. It’ll be fun to watch him as a teenager, but I wonder what he eats when he gets the munchies?
22-26. Thank You For Smoking/ Running With Scissors/ Stranger Than Fiction/ For Your Consideration/ American Dreamz- Five comedies (I think) for the intelligent moviegoer. Not sure if that’s me, but regardless, I’ll be there for these. All of these films have impressive casts whose talents will be put to good use, because some of these stories are tough sells.
27/28. The Good Shepherd/ The Good German- Good+Good= a Great time at the movies for me. Robert DeNiro directs himself alongside Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie and Joe Pesci in this history of the CIA. German stars Clooney and Cate Blanchett in another murder mystery from director Steven Soderbergh.
29/30. Alpha Dog/ Edison- Ah, the Justin Timberlake movies, both of which I’m genuinely excited about. Nick Cassavetes has assembled a great young cast including Emile Hirsch as Jesse James Hollywood, though Edison may have more potential to be a great movie, as it costars Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey as corrupt cops.
31-33. Nacho Libre/ Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny/ Untitled NASCAR Comedy- Jack Black is one of the funniest guys in the world right now, and next year he’s rocking hard. I’ve watched the D since their heyday on HBO, and can’t wait to see them conquer the big screen. Plus, the idea of JB as a Mexican wrestler, from a script by Mike White, makes me giddy. Now normally, I’m not so high on Ferrell. I think his shtick is getting tired. I’m that guy who didn’t really like Anchorman or Old School that much. But Adam McKay is a funny dude. Has been ever since those SNL short films. And NASCAR is the perfect stage for the two of them to team up again and make us laugh.
34-38. The Break Up/ Me, You, and Dupree/ The Wendell Baker Story/ Idiocracy/ Cars- The stars of Wedding Crashers return with few new comedies. As Dupree, Owen plays the houseguest from hell who moves into Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson’s new home. The trailer looks a little laugh-starved, though Dillon is always good for a pick-me-up (remember There’s Something About Mary?). The Break-Up trailer scored major points with me, from the chemistry between its stars to its cheesy but clever tagline. I’m betting Vince’s movie wins out, but that Owen is such a charmer. He also co-stars with brother Luke in The Wendell Baker Story, which Luke wrote and co-directed with brother Andrew about hijinx going on at a retirement hotel. Mike Judge handles writing/directing duties in Idiocracy, which imagines a dumbed-down future in which Luke is the smartest man alive. Owen also provides the lead voice in Cars, the latest gift from John Lassetter and the rest of the boys at Pixar.
39/40. Revolver/ Sunshine- Two of my favorite British directors return to American cinemas this year. Not really sure what Sunshine is about but it reunites Danny Boyle with 28 Days Later star Cillian Murphy, while Guy Ritchie’s twist-filled crime movie features Ray Liotta and Jason Statham.
41-44. The Hills Have Eyes/ When A Stranger Calls/ Pulse/ The Omen 666- I’ve seen the trailers for the first three and director Alexandre Aja’s (High Tension) take on Wes Craven’s cult classic looks sufficiently creepy. Good to see Emile de Ravin finally get off that frickin’ island, and Ted Levine’s voice alone could make me wet my pants. As for Stranger, this is a terrible idea for a movie. We already know the killer is in the house, so what’s the big surprise? The script by Jake Wade Wall sucked, Camilla Belle is overrated as both an actress and a pin-up, and this movie is destined to not live up to the original. Simon West should teach a class in mediocre filmmaking. Meanwhile, Pulse was not a very good J-horror movie, although it’s gotten positive reviews on this site. The trailer for the American version looks like it has taken care of the original’s problems, but this one could turn out as limp as The Grudge or The Ring 2. I mean, Kristen Bell and Christina Milian? Come on. Finally, although I haven’t seen anything about The Omen remake, I love the casting of Live Schreiber and Julia Stiles. There, I said it.
45-48. Final Destination 3/ SawIII/ Texas Chainsaw Massacre Prequel/ Basic Instinct 2- The directors of the first Final Destination (is that an oxymoron) return for this latest sequel in which teens cheat death. The opening scene on a roller-coaster is said to be pretty scary. Mum’s the word on Saw III but Jigsaw is sure to be back, bloody as ever. Hopefully, Lions Gate will keep the rest of the New Kids on the Block away from this one and bring back Cary Elwes’ amputee-doctor. Haven’t heard much about the other two movies, although TCM’s Jordana Brewster is gorgeous and looks just like the hottest girl from my high school days, and Sharon Stone is never too old to flash her, well, you know. I just hope Wayne Knight is there again to watch.
49-51. The Benchwarmers/ Click/ School For Scoundrels- Is Jon Heder ready to move on from Napoleon Dynamite, and more importantly, is that all we’ll ever see him as? We’ll find out this year. While he’s flanked by proven comedy veterans David Spade and Rob Schneider in Benchwarmers, he may be on his own in Scoundrels, the new Todd Phillips flick which had a predictable, unfunny script. Heder plays a meter maid who is taught to act like a man by Billy Bob Thornton, who also needs to reinvent himself since he’s been playing the same role in three straight movies. As for Click, I never discount the Sandman, but he needs a genuinely funny movie to recapture his appeal. The high-concept idea could be pretty funny, but Sandler hasn’t faired well as of late, although Grandma’s Boy (due this week) was a pleasant surprise.
52-54. Scary Movie 4/ Little Man / Date Movie- The Wayans Brothers are at it again. Little Man sounds like it’ll be as tough to pull off as White Chicks, but hey, at least they’re giving it a shot. In SM4, Anna Faris returns as Cindy Campbell, and director David Zucker looks set to spoof recent films like Saw, War of the Worlds, and The Village. Meanwhile, New Line has come up with its own spoof film, this one targeted at those trite pieces of crap called romantic comedies. Alyson Hannigan and Eddie Griffin as her dad are enlisted to earn big laughs, and friends of mine who saw this being filmed last summer said it looked funny.
55-58. RV/ Jackass 2/ Accepted/ Block Party- Wow, check out Robin Williams’ IMDB page. He hasn’t done a funny movie in a long-ass time, huh? Here’s hoping director Barry Levinson makes use of this guy’s talents. If he doesn’t, it’s all on Cheryl Hines’ shoulders. Grosse Pointe Blank writer Steve Pink directs Accepted, which sounds like it could be a funny teen comedy. It stars Justin Long as a kid who can’t get into college, so he starts his own. Meanwhile, the Jackass boys reunite for another painful sequel, and Dave Chappelle moves from the small screen to the big screen with this stand-up/concert film a la Sarah Silverman that might make up for his decision to walk out on his Comedy Central contract.
59/60. Lucky You/ Lucky Number Slevin- Aside from their luck-laden titles, the only thing these two movies have in common are that I want to see them. Eric Bana tries to win Drew Barrymore in between poker hands in the Curtis Hanson film, and Slevin stars Josh Hartnett, Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis, and Morgan Freeman as a character named The Boss. Sounds cool.
61. Hard Candy- I read the highly original, page-turner of a script and word out of Sundance was positive enough. Patrick Wilson’s rising star has cooled considerably, but this creepy story of a 14 year-old girl getting revenge on a sexual predator could scare up some nice indie dollars.
62. 16 Blocks- Richard Donner directs this action pic that stars Bruce Willis as a cop who has a tough time escorting Mos Def to the courthouse so he can testify. Sounds like fun to me. It’s as if Willis can do no wrong in my eyes. I even liked Hostage.
63. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada- Reviews have been very kind and Tommy Lee Jones has been landing on a lot of critics’ shortlists for Best Actor. I’ve read reviews that describe it as unlike any other film you’ve ever seen. Well I believe it when I see it.
64/65. The Visiting/ The Sentinel- Again, two completely unrelated films except for the word “the” in their titles. Forget Basinger and Mr. Zeta-Jones, if the Sentinel is any good it’ll be because of the efforts of one man, Keifer Sutherland, who doesn’t have any time to take names while he kicks ass weekly on 24. Visiting is a Body Snatchers retread, but it’s got Nicky Kidman and the new Bond going for it, plus the return of teen heartthrob JTT! Yay! (vomiting sounds)
66. Children of Men- Alfonso Cuaron adapts and directs this futuristic story set in a world in which man can no longer procreate. When Julianne Moore becomes miraculously pregnant, Clive Owen is assigned to protect her. The strong supporting cast features Michael Caine, Peter Mullan, Charlie Hunnam and Danny Huston, but I haven’t liked a Julianne Moore movie since Magnolia. Ouch.
67. Art School Confidential- A Terry Zwigoff film from a Daniel Clowes script starring John Malkovich and star-in-the-making Max Minghella. I’m curious.
68/69. Silent Hill/ Night Watch- Saw Night Watch last year and visually, it’s quite impressive. The story leaves more to be desired, but that’s what the sequels are for. Fox Searchlight has been taking their sweet-ass time with this one. And as for Silent Hill, I never played the video game, so I have no idea what to expect from this film but I have faith in director Cristopher Gans.
70-72. The Descent/ Slither/ Stay Alive- Most everyone at BNAT loved The Descent, so hopefully I’ll fall in with that line of thinking. Slither looks like a fun horror-comedy, and I’ll see any splatter-fest with Elizabeth Banks in it. As for Stay Alive, I just hope Frankie Muniz doesn’t. His death scene could be this year’s answer to Paris Hilton’s in House of Wax.
73/74. Firewall/ Running Scared- You gotta get excited about the return of Harrison Ford, on my 22nd birthday no less, although the plot sounds a little “been there-done that.” Paul Walker’s latest has the good mind to use a Muse song in its trailer, and those slapshots to the face look painful. I like the film’s color scheme too. Looks kinda gritty.
75/76. Find Me Guilty/ Gridiron Gang- Vin Diesel dons hair for Sidney Lumet’s courtroom drama before he becomes “Hitman.” The Rock should take note. While Southland Tales is a start, this ill-conceived remake is a step backwards buddy. Follow the Deez and try being serious for once. You’ve got talent, so use it.
77. Lonesome Jim- Affleck Alert! No, not Ben! The talented one, Casey, duh! Steve Buscemi steps behind the lens again too, which is always interesting. Remember that snowy Sopranos episode?
78/79. Pirates of the Caribbean 2/ Casino Royale- There two are more like unanticipated. Here’s a shocker for ya. I hate James Bond. Hate him. As well as Pierce fit in the role, I turned Goldeneye off halfway, slept through Tomorrow Never Dies, and didn’t even bother to see World Is Not Enough or Die Another Day. I would’ve liked to have seen Clive Owen step into the tuxedo but Daniel Craig will have to do. Either way, I’m not excited about Casino Royale and probably won’t even see it. And here’s another shocker. I didn’t like Pirates of the Caribbean and lately, I don’t like Johnny Depp. I think his Oscar nomination for playing Capt. Jack Sparrow is one of the single worse decisions the Academy has ever made, period. Pirates is a strictly fluff movie, a popcorn flick for summer, based on a theme park ride no less, that should never have garnered any serious discussion for awards. The fact that Disney is betting the bank on two sequels, frankly to me, is sad, but perhaps what’s even sadder is how big these films will be. They’re just going to make money, money, and more money. Which is a shame. Because Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are two of the most overrated stars of the millennium. I am completely baffled by their success and widespread popularity. Did people actually see Elizabethtown or Kingdom of Heaven, or Domino? They suck and even though I will admit that the trailer entertained me and the design of Davey Jones looks cool, I will be happily enjoying other movies while people stand in line to see these two blockbusters.
80. Montreal in a Jetta- This unproduced screenplay from no-name writer MiraJeff is about three underage friends who hop in a white Volkswagen and head to Canada in search of legal alcohol consumption, lesbian strip shows, and other illicit activities. Who knows, maybe this is the year someone buys the rights to this baby which could be the next American Pie… or American Pie: Band Camp. Either way, you could cast monkeys in these roles and you’d still have a better movie than Daltry Calhoun.