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Harry's Top 20 Films To Watch For In 2005!!!

Hey folks, Harry here... This isn't a complete list by any means - simply - these are the 20 projects that I'm either DYING to see, or that I'm dying for you to see. In fact there's only two films on this list that I have seen - and I'm dying to see them again. But enough - let's get to it...


A documentary about the life of an unknown man. But one that created an entire universe in his home... Enchanted lands and fictional worlds... A 15,000 page document that was fully illustrated and told. Director and Oscar-Winning Documentarian Jessica Yu takes his paintings, collages and illustrations and brings them to life in this apparently amazing film. It opens in Los Angeles on January 21st, and I'm hoping to god it finds its way to Austin. I must see this!


That's right - I'm putting a Michael Bay film on this list and you can eat it. I enjoy the hell out of Michael's movies, except for PEARL HARBOR, but I have to get excited about THE ISLAND. I'm excited for a few reasons. First there's the writing team behind the film. Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci... they were responsible for the amazing GOONIES 2 video game... actually they were, but more than that, they've written some of the outstanding episodes of ALIAS - as well as the stupidly canceled show JACK OF ALL TRADES. This year though is the year they broke out. They wrote not only this, but LEGEND OF ZORRO and next year's MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3. But this was their script that got folks excited about these guys. Plus it has Ewan MacGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan and Djimon Hounsou. AND - Michael "Blow It Up Real Good" Bay is the man in charge of the madness. (July 22nd)


Ok - this isn't a thrill ride event film in the typical way, but when you put actors like Ben Gazzara & Gena Rowlands and Steve Buscemi & Natalie Portman - into the hands of 20 directors including: The Coen Brothers, Mike Figgis, Jean-Luc Godard, Michel Gondry, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Wen Jiang, Yegor Konchalovsky, Stanley Kwan, Richard LaGravenese, Anne-Marie Mieville, Vincenzo Natali, Mamoru Oshii, Sally Potter, Walter Salles, Tom Tykwer, etc... And you tell those directors to work with total freedom on the subject of Paris and Love... MY GOD! It is being strung into a single narrative somehow and in the end, it may be an incomprehensible mess of a film... but what a glorious fucking mess it can be. Finger Paints of the Gods man, that's all I'm saying! (No Release Date Set)


After THE PIANIST blew me the hell away, I was dying of curiousity regarding what Polanski would do next. That he would choose Dickens' classic tale of grooming youth for devious selfish means... well, let's just say it was the furthest possible subject matter I was thinking of. HOWEVER, this won't be the light-hearted singing tale of OLIVER! This, I imagine, is going to be brutally honest. Next to Peter Jackson doing KING KONG, this is probably the hardest possible film being made this year for the filmmaker. David Lean's Brilliant OLIVER TWIST exists... Alec Guinness' Fagin is as wonderful a performance as exists. For Roman to be taking this subject on... it takes balls, for many reasons, not discounting his personal history. Then he cast Ben Kingsley as Fagin and suddenly confidence fills me to the brim. This could be fantastic. (September 30th)


When Douglas McGrath adapts George Plimpton's oral biography of Truman Capote's history in researching IN COLD BLOOD... and you put together the cast he's got Toby Jones as Truman Capote... then there's Anjelica Huston, Sigourney Weaver, Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock and Alan Cumming... Well, it's time to sit up and pay attention. The source material was utterly fantastic. By all means seek it out. I liked McGrath's under-promoted Nicholas Nickleby, and this film is definitely worth looking forward to. (November 18th)


Sam Mendes' third film is reason enough. That he's tackling Anthony Swofford's book regarding events in and around Desert Storm as adapted by Bill Broyles Jr... Well that's exciting as all hell. A third film, a third genre. I like this Sam Mendes chap. Good show. Now, who is on display here? Jake Gyllenhaal is starring in the lead role. He's joined by Jamie Foxx, Sam Rockwell, Peter Sarsgaard, Chris Cooper, James Morrison and a bunch of young actors that after this film, I'm sure we'll know a name or two. Most likely this'll be one of the best films of the year. (November 11th)


I love the artwork and behind the scenes stuff that Quint has been showing on the site. I enjoy the hell out of Favreau's released work thus far, and I love that they built the robots! Other than Tim Robbins, I don't know much about the cast, but this is more about going with my gut here. Jon hasn't let me down yet with a film, and I am hoping that this ends up being one of those family films that everyone loves. Ya know... like ELF? (November 23rd)


Ok - this is the one I've seen - and folks... It's like Chuck Jones directing a Shaw Brothers' Masterpiece. There's scenes that I'm thinking I dreamt, but when I talk to other BNATers, they claim they were truly real. Like... there's this chase scene between Stephen Chow and a super-powered LandLady that... had no right working at all, but somehow - it sent me and the audience into hysterics. There's this sequence with musicians and shadows that was just fucking genius. Damn... it's just guaranteed to be some of the most fun you'll have in a theater this year. (March 18th)


Please God - Make this movie genius! At BNAT we got a really cool look behind the scenes of this movie - with the producer there spilling all the details he had in his mind that we could pry out... and the most amazing thing was the sheer love and passion he had for the material. It was like... he was one of us. If that spirit is infused into this movie, it could, hopefully... be magical. (May 6th)


This isn't the version you have on DVD from Thailand. This is the cut that played at BNAT. One that had been re-edited by Luc Besson with a fucking amazing score and sound mix. I've seen the Thai-version of the film many times - and other than the astonishing action of Tony Jaa - I felt the movie's pacing lagged, that even the action - though physically impossible and breathtaking - oh and 100% real... I felt the score and sound were lacking. Especially the score. Well, this is what happens when an Action master finds a diamond in the rough. This film is now, without a doubt, an awesome fucking cinematic experience on par with the best martial arts ever unleashed on the screen. Just awe-inspiring. The news that Tony Jaa and Jackie Chan are teaming up for a DRUNKEN MASTER 3, where Jackie takes Tony as a student. OHMYGOD! Bliss! (February 4th)


After that trailer - who isn't dying to see what Robert Rodriguez has cooked up with Frank Miller and Quentin Tarantino? It has hands down one of the best casts I've ever seen. Cinematically - it is daring and feels right. That I know there's prime nudity contained... that I know the violence is brutal beyond belief... and that I know the source material and the passion that all involved poured into this... yeah, I'm ready for multiple trips to SIN CITY. I also love that this trailer gets cheers in Austin. Heh. (April 1st)


Cameron Crowe's latest. I absolutely love his script for this. Crowe is one of those filmmaker's whose heart beats so loud in his films that yours just can't help but beat as one. He has my number, and this story is very powerful, at least on paper. What I'm dying to see... I'm dying to see what Crowe does with Orlando Bloom. This is the most different thing he's ever done. This isn't the noble strong silent type... this is a true romantic comic leading man with a very real soul typed into every word and can Orlando do it? For that matter, can Kirsten Dunst play this amazing stewardess... and how the hell is Cameron going to shoot the 15 page phone conversation in the middle of the script that just fucking was the most amazingly true conversation since Lester Bangs told William Miller, "The only true currency in this bankrupt world... is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." That scene alone... if that scene works - it'll be glorious. (July 29th)


That teaser trailer did it for me. That they're being so faithful as to use the red martian weeds, gives me hope that the black smokey gas stuff gets unleashed. I have the highest confidence in Spielberg to make this movie just kick ass. This, to me, is old school seventies and early eighties Spielberg quality material. George Pal's original is one of the top ten greatest science fiction films of all time in my mind - but I've always dreamt of another adaptation that brought more of the martian terrors that Wells told us about. And Tom Cruise could totally be a good surrogate Gene Barry. He has that range, I think. Heh. I'm just so giddy that this isn't desaturated. (June 29th)

7. Tim Burton's CORPSE BRIDE

I will say, sight unseen... I want all the toys, a regular edition dvd and a deluxe dvd and I want it now! NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS might very well be my favorite "comfort movie" of all time. Though FOOTLIGHT PARADE may bump it from time to time. "Comfort Movie"? That's the film that you watch to center yourself. That movie that makes the world make sense to you again. My expectations for CORPSE BRIDE couldn't be higher. It's got an amazing voice cast: Emily Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Albert Finney, Christopher Lee, Richard Grant and Joanna Lumley. Yes, please... I need this movie! Heaven, I say! (September 23rd)


I haven't seen a frame of work from this. Not a frame. However, I know several of the artists that are busy at work making this film animated. The script is the best adaptation work of Phillip K Dick yet penned. This is true Dick, not a Hollywood-ized food-substitute version. It doesn't skirt the surreal issues or the drugs of the tale. This will truly be unlike anything we've seen before. VERY DIFFERENT from WAKING LIFE. The cast? Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Rory Cochrane and many others. I'm really quite excited about this one. Probably my most anticipated trailer of the year behind KING KONG's. (September 16th)


YES! Another Stop Motion animated feature film for the year! Not only that, but a feature adventure for Wallace & Gromit! This is another film that I am dying for all the toys from sight unseen. It has been so long since the last Aardman movie, that I can't wait to see a new one. After all, I've seen CHICKEN RUN way too many times to mention on here and be subjected to idiotic ridicule for my poultry fixation. What a tough year this will be for the Animated Academy award next year! (October 7th)


George Romero returns to the genre he invented and reigns. A new George Romero zombie movie is one of those things that just makes me a very very happy man. I hated missing my opportunity to go do a cameo in it, but I didn't want to jinx the film. The rumors that Tom Savini plays a "biker zombie" thrills me to no end. I can't wait for the release version, the unrated edition and hopefully the 40 dvd permutations that will follow! Ya know... there's a new George Romero ZOMBIE movie this year? Holy shit that's fucking cool! (October 21st)


A new Terrence Malick film... and it isn't 2022? WOW! That trailer that New Line put out at the end of last year has me dying to see what the best cinematic eye in the world has for me next November. The sheer beauty of seeing that trailer on a big screen has me in an absolute physical withdrawl anticipating this movie. To see the Pocahontas and John Smith story done... for real. With all that changed after. This will be a masterpiece. (November 9th)


As is typical - Chan-Wook Park's latest film doesn't even have an IMDB page yet. He's one of the greatest living working directors on a rampage of a career so far, and he doesn't have his next film listed yet on IMDB when it has been announced for a year. Shooting for 3 months. And even has a released still. ARGH! He'll be completing his Revenge Trilogy with this movie, and I can not wait. Then in 2006 we'll have his first horror film which will tear the heart out of our planet so we can bathe in its blood! (No Release Date or Distributor in U.S. Yet)


Of course KING KONG is my #1 most dying to see film of 2005. Was there ever a doubt? KongIsKing.Net's Production Diaries are like an I.V. of pure cool running into my veins. Every glimpse of art work is heaven to me. For the entire 9 years this site has been around, I've been writing about Peter Jackson's KING KONG. The original is my favorite film of all time, and this release will signal a deluxe multi-disk DVD set off of the amazing film print that Warner Brothers is sitting on that we saw at BNAT 3 years ago. Literally the best film print I've ever seen. Various Kong books will come out.. and maybe, just maybe... all the Kong publicity might cause someone somewhere to perhaps find the missing spider canyon footage from the original! OH - and then there's Peter's movie. I can't say Peter loves King Kong more than me... Just as he couldn't claim to love it more than Rick Baker, Ray Harryhausen, John Landis and many many others. Am I nervous? Absolutely, the film could end with me raging furious about how he fucked it all up. But I seriously doubt it. This will be the eighth wonder of the world this year, but it is my number 1. (December 14th)

Ok - you may have noticed there's a couple of major films off this list. There's a reason. I've been dying to see Obi-Wan fight Anakin on a Lava Planet forever it seems... or at least since that Rolling Stones interview with Lucas where he mentioned it. I love the trailer. I like all the stills that have come out. And admittedly - it's the only film I'll be camping out for this year, and yes... I'll fucking be doing that again this year. Though I'm not out to set records like Jeff Tweiten in Seattle who already is in line. So why then is it not on my list? Because, I'm terrified of the film. I so desperately want to love it so completely - that I don't assign it a number. It simply is what it is. STAR WARS. The ephemera surrounds me in this room and with every item there is a bit of a dream attached. Most of those lead to Obi-Wan vs Anakin around geysers of lava. I'm rooting for Lucas like you wouldn't believe. I think every real movie fan is too, no matter how eaten up with cynicism they may be. This is the one we've been waiting for. It's above numbers.

There are many other titles that I'm dying to see. Things like FANTASTIC FOUR, BATMAN BEGINS and KINGDOM OF HEAVEN... I'm just not excited by their productions thus far. Not at the level of these 20. There's Mike Judge's untitled science fiction comedy, which no doubt will fucking rule, but I haven't a real clue about it yet. Then there's all those independent films out there that are below radar, but begin popping up at Sundance at the end of the month. Then there's Darren Aronofsky's THE FOUNTAIN - which doesn't have a release date, but may play in 2005 if it gets done in time. Then there is CHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY - The trailer is like some bizzare sugar rush that I'm just mad about... but... BUT, I just don't know. I know I'll love Elfman's Musical Elements - Johnny's gonna be a trip - but - I'm just not certain. I've got this permanent love for Wilder Wonka that just won't go away. And the some of the sets look so close to it, that I'm not getting that reimagined feeling of an adaptation like Kong, but a bizarre on crack Van Sant memory... that I know is wrong, but is there all the same. Ya know? But I'm still looking forward to it, wildly, just not in my top 20. Yup - with that list folks, I'm hoping for a helluva year. But you know how it is, sometimes reality is a cruel bitch. But like cruel bitches, we're just going to ignore them and hope for good times... after all, isn't that the very spirit of HAPPY NEW YEAR!?!

If you've got information, images yet unseen or any cool info about the above films or any that you're dying to see as much as I am - that perhaps I don't know about. Well then, drop me an email at Harry@AintItCool.Com

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