Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Dead Months are Coming

Before you party like it's 2007, let's turn our face to what fantastic filmfare is scheduled for release in the coming months. There are two times of year that serious filmgoers dread: August-September and February-March. That's when film studios let the dogs out. The big bangers are still kept for early summer and late fall. But sometimes, just sometimes, some truly wonderful films come out during the off period. However, for sci-fi and fantasy fans, the pickings this Spring look pretty thin.

The new year begins with a trickle. Potentially Guillermo Del Toro's goregeously filmed fantasy, "Pan's Labyrinth" will be released this week. The story of a girl who escapes into a fantasy world to escape the brutal realities of war. While the fanboys will be salivating, the question is: will this film hold a mainstream audience and find any legs. I won't make predictions, but I will ask, in a holiday season that hasn't been boffo, why would the studio do what amounts to a January release? Suspicious.

Following that, two films that will probably slip by unnoticed: "Happily N'ever After" and "The Invisible" . The first is an animated feature from the producer of "Shrek" and it has the same slick, satirical sensibility, if only it didn't have the voices of Sarah Michelle Geller and Freddie Prinze. The second film is another teenager facing a supernatural threat film with oozing teen angst and emotional sincerity. gag.

What's waiting for you in the dead of February? It's "Hannibal Rising", the film which asks the question: Do we really need the story of a young Hannibal Lecter? Also in February, another film that has had a flexible release date (always a bad sign): "Ghost Rider". Based on a mediocre Marvel Comics title, this feature film stars Nicholas Cage, who must be asking himself what's happening to his career. First "The Wicker Man" and now this.


"The Hills Have Eyes II", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", and "The Reaping". The last actually looks like it may have something, offering itself up as a supernatural horror film with religious overtones. The other two? I'm sure the skaters will love "Turtles" and masochists will seek "Hills" as a temporary fix for their gore habit.

And April? I won't even talk about April.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some good filmfare coming out in the next few month, just not in the realm of Science Fiction and Fantasy (of which I include supernatural horror). You're going to have to wait until May. And then? Look out

May 4--Spiderman 3
May 11--28 Weeks Later
May 18 -- Shrek The Third
May 25 -- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
June 15 -- Fantastic Four, Rise of the Silver Surfer
July 4th--Transformers
July 13--Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (I think Warner Brothers abandoning their usual Christmas release for Potter for a summer release is a mistake)
July 27--The Simpsons Movie
and also later in July --The Invasion, starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidmann.

So you see...There's hope. There's hope. Just wait until May. My birth month, by the way. May 17th. Feel free to get me something.


Angela/SciFiChick said...

I'm looking forward to Ghost Rider, simply as a mindless, entertaining flick.. My hopes are just slightly above Daredevil, which isn't saying much.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I won't see it, angela. I just can't abuse myself like that. If I get some decent reviews that gives me room for doubt, then maybe. However, considering how they've messed with the release dates, and considering how Nicholas Cage continues to drop below below, I just can't do it.

I'll admit that January, February, and March have gotten better over the years, but it's still rare to find more than one or two gems in that field.

Stewart Sternberg said...

One more note: if they release the film without letting the critics see it, then I would give it a miss altogether. If they're hiding it from the critics and the preview audiences then they are hiding something horrible. So far, I have heard little advance word on Ghost Rider, and that is not a good thing considering how close we are to release. If I am incorrect, then someone point me in the right direction.

Angela/SciFiChick said...

I've already wasted 3 hours of my life watching The Good Shepherd, that I'll never get back. What's another 2, watching a Marvel superhero fight bad guys.. at least I know it'll have action & keep my attention.

The only movie with rave reviews (Rocky Balboa) is the only one I didn't get to see this season.

Angela/SciFiChick said...

All I've heard about it are the trailers..
You're right though. It's not really being hyped. I've seen more Spidey trailers than Ghost Rider.. and that's not coming out for quite a few months!

SQT said...

I kind of wait to see what the reviews are before I watch most movies too. If ghost rider is totally panned I probably won't ever watch it.

I'll probably see Spiderman before I know what anyone says though. I don't want to be influenced on that one.

At least now I know not to waste my time on the Good Shepherd.

SQT said...

Btw Stewart. That's quite the picture you have on this post. What is it exactly?

mist1 said...

Nick Cage and I are in denial about his career. I was talking to him last night and told him that I prefer to think about him in Raising Arizona. I just pretend that Wicker Man never happened.

Stewart Sternberg said...

The picture with eyes in the palms is from Del Torro's "Pan's Labyrinth". I am looking forward to it, but I get the feeling there is going to be a lot of confusion in the marketing.

SQT said...

Pan's Labyrinth looks gorgeous. I was so impressed I added the link to the movie to your post. In fact, I added links to all the movies you mentioned for convenience sake. Now I know what all the forthcoming movies are about.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Thanks SQT. Putting the links in like that really made it a valuable posting. See what a good team we are? You are the bestest.

SQT said...

They're all valuable postings, aren't they?

I like being the bestest too.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

May is a very good month to be born.

I don't know about Ghostrider, it has a hero with a cartoon flaming skull whipping a cartoon flaming chain around at the bad guys, but it does have Donal Logue in it, so that's a plus.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Pan's Labyrinth has been going about six weeks here, but has hardly been in any cinemas.

Stewart Sternberg said...

And that's because they have no idea how to market the damn thing, Jean Luc. It's not a children's story. It's not a horror story. It's a dark fantasy..a true dark fantasy, and yahoos raised on Star Wars and Spiderman use those films (although I love them) as the standards by which to measure all fantasy.

I saw Guillermo Del Toro's fine film The Devil's Backbone, also about children dealing with the horrors or war and the horrors of their existence in an orphanage. It's a fine ghost story with chills coming slowly and building to an appropriate crescendo. However, since there were no chainsaws, teens baring their breasts, and close ups of mutilation, the film was passed over by many horror fans, or rather, let's call them what they are..exploitation fans.

I'm going to do a post on this, I think. I'm telling ya, "Hostel" should have been a rallying cry for true horror fans. What a loathsome, poorly put together piece of drecht. And of course, the exploitation fans were there in droves.

Of course Del Toro, who has directed Blade II and Hellboy, knows how to put together an action film. He loves dealing with extremes and subtexts. But still, I don't think this new film will draw on that. I think this new film will be more along the lines of "Devils Backbone".

Crunchy Carpets said...

Devils Backbone...I will have to look for that...I only knew about Del Toro through HellBoy and some fanboy's on a movie site who were telling everyone that they were 'working' with him and gushing and geeking out about him. It sort of put me off, but then I was happy with HellBoy so my fears were put to rest.

If you hear about a project called 'Meg' run away.

SQT said...

I've seen both Blade II and Hellboy, so I think I would be more than willing to look at Pans Labyrinth; though it's so beautiful looking on it's own that I doubt I'd need to know Del Toro's pedigree to want to see it.

We really don't see many movies like that, which is a shame. I think there are a lot of people like us out there who would appreciate a good fantasy film.

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

I'm geeked about "Pan's Labyrinth" as this is the guy who gave us "The Devil's Backbone" (best ghost story of the last ten years) and did a respectable job on "Hellboy".
Isn't the Gaiman "Stardust" due out this year? the whole thing has always seemed too twee for me to go anywhere near it, and I'd considered myself a Gaiman fan.
Is "Meg" a big budget/shitty script hunt for a living Megalodon?

Yasamin said...

I have to admit there are only 2 movies on that list that have me seething with intrigue.
Pan's Labyrinth and The Reaping. the rest... meh.

Everything is a freaking remake of someting old. its depressing. so... very... depressing.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Well...Pan's Labyrinth has been released and I don't see it in any of the multiplexes around me. I wonder if it is hitting the art houses. This isn't a good sign for this film..although it has gotten rave reviews. Told gets them every time.

SQT said...

I just looked and Pans Labyrinth isn't playing anywhere near me at all. I'm kind of surprised, we have a couple of theatres that usually play what are considered artsy films. It may still show up, but I'm betting I'll end up seeing it on video.

Allie D. said...

Pan's Labyrinth is seriously going to ROCK. It has a 98% on Rottentomatoes right now for crying out loud! :) It won't be released wide until Jan 19th though, which sucks. :(

We get an occasional bright spot early in the year, but you're right, a loooot of turds to wade through. lol