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Harry takes a look at 2001 and picks the 10 films he most is looking forward to!

Harry Picks 10 Films To Not Miss In 2001


I know, right now you don’t know much of anything about this film. That’s OK, it hasn’t been screened anywhere for the general public. But 2 years ago, when I did a preview of future Horror/Scary flicks, this was one of two ‘Unknown’ scripts. The other was written by our own Moriarty and still is in Development Hell on account of the expensive nature of his story, but DONNIE DARKO made it. It was an unattached screenplay sitting amongst the stacks, and now it is about a week away from screening at SUNDANCE for the first time.

The director/writer, Richard Kelly, has never directed anything before. BUT… Quentin Tarantino hadn’t directed anything before RESERVOIR DOGS. Sometimes the big ones come out of left field, and based upon his screenplay… the smarts it took to shoot in 2:35-1… And a solid cast for the characters… WELL, I’m going out and saying this film is going to be talked about quite a bit this year. Already the buzz going into Sundance has been felt. Other writers with Newspapers and Websites have called me and emailed me specifically saying that this is the hot film they’ve heard.

This could very well be the birth of a significantly cool filmmaker. Believe me, I will be awaiting in baited breath the first reports from SUNDANCE. Then, when the film is picked up… Expect a release this Fall… Yup, a long time to wait.


This one is completely OBVIOUS! The test screenings in San Diego and the reviews we received coming out of there were tremendous. The audiencing loving it to such a degree that you could hear them out in the lobby of the theater at the candy counters. Word has it that Ridley has pointed to the left outfield and knocked the ball to the next state. The script was wonderful, to me. Hell I loved the book. I love what happened at the end, and I loved what they did in the script. As much of a crush as I have on Jodie Foster, it is 5 times that for Julianne Moore.

The source material was inherently more cinematic than the work in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and I feel the exploration of unstoppable pure delightful evil is a great source for entertainment and contemplation. This is an journey into a darkness few can handle and I love that. It’s almost like a dare. Dare you sit alone with Hannibal Lecter for 2 hours? I DARE…. I do I do I do…. It also has one of the coolest damn posters I’ve seen in quite some time! Good stuff! Will it be better than SILENCE, well some people believe that was crap and that MANHUNTER is the best yet… It is all left to the beholder and that be you and that be me and we is different… But I can’t wait to see!


Yeah, I know… Go on, say it… I know you want to… I like the Michael Bay aesthetic, I love that male version of the BARBIE universe he creates. That world where Men kick ass and get the babes and look cool doing it all.

To me, I love his filtered world of golden golds… of crisp blues… and I love the way he edits those flicks of his like a Steranko edition of Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Chop chop chop…. Small panels and lots of them.

Here Bay is working with the best script he’s ever had. This is great stuff. It doesn’t portray the Japanese as being insidious evil terrors out to maim and murder. But then the film is about a lot more than just PEARL HARBOR. Remember, when the film started life it was called TENNESSEE, then the media (Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, etc) just kept calling it Michael Bay’s PEARL HARBOR movie so often that that was what it got named. PEARL is a mid section of the film, and this thing is far bigger than just that sneak attack morning. Notice the American bombers in the long-form trailer in theaters? Notice the mainland America stuff? This thing takes place over decades and Pearl is right smack in the middle.

Be skeptical… hell hate it if you must… but I for one can’t wait to see this baby!


Baz Luhrmann (STRICTLY BALLROOM and ROMEO & JULIET) is something of a force of nature behind the camera and in front of it. His crew that he directs are super-charged and family from all accounts. He’s a huge personality and brilliant at reconceiving the musical genre. I have… literally no idea what to expect out of MOULIN ROUGE in the theater, but every fiber of me wants to find out.

Nicole Kidman…. Ewan McGregor and John Leguizamo seem at odds when placed together, but somehow I think the casting feels perfect. The thought of John Leguizamo letting loose with his energy in Toulouse Lautrec… every image I’ve seen from the film… basically the same stills that we have all seen are electric in design and color. I am going expecting vibrant alive cinema. I know Baz will deliver!

6. A.I.

Spielberg’s Ode to Kubrick. Steven is taking this film to heart. The storyline as we’ve heard it told has that bizarre beautiful innocence compounded with harsh reality that I loved so much in Kubrick’s work.

I have purposely tried to stay away from the ‘plot synopsis’ and the ‘click here for WIRED story revelations’ because for the first time in Spielberg’s career… he’s trying to keep the film under wraps. Sure, we’ve seen a Robot arm. We’ve seen a cryptic trailer, that I bet anything was designed by Kubrick in some of them 700 pages of notes. And we’ve had the report about handkerchief etiquette in a bizarre… club.

I’m sure the film has been taking a far more under-radar approach than Warners would like, but I’m enjoying the handling of the film. The tiny bits, the non-revealing teaser trailer. I like that they are selling me a concept and not candy.

People ask me why I say things like, ‘This is the film that’ll get Spielberg back on track!’ You see, I miss a specific Spielberg. 1970’s and early 1980’s Spielberg. This was when he was making great money with his films, but there was a youthful zeal to the work. The movies knew where to end, they understood their story completely. And they most certainly were not concerned with what the friggin Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences thought.

Sometime around THE COLOR PURPLE, Spielberg seems to have set out in search for official recognition. The History Book kind that seems to somehow be confirmed by getting that dang Oscar. It seemed that Spielberg was dividing his work up at that point.

One ‘commercial’ film and one ‘artistic’ film. There almost seemed to be a conscious decision to make a difference between the two. And somewhere in doing that I saw a little boy in Spielberg dying. Now that’s not to say Spielberg should make ‘immature films’, no… It seemed that Steven began making films that he thought others would like to see made, more that what I perceive that kid growing up wanted to make. That guy that snuck onto the Universal lot.

I get the feeling that keeping A.I. a secret is making him giddy again. Giddy in that rubbing your hands together, wait till they get a load of this sort of way.

With A.I. the kid and the adult can work side by side, and perhaps we’ll get that wonder and shock back. Perhaps the Mothership will soar into the night…. The ark will be boxed and filed… Hooper and Brody will kick to shore… I want perfection, and I believe more than anything that Steven can give it to me in a theater this summer.


Ok, I admit it. This is the film that I want to see with the largest group of friends I have and I want it to collectively just adrenaline charge our asses so we hit each other and make animalistic noises while striking attack poses.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Ok, Jet Li stars with Bridget Fonda. It is written and produced by Luc Besson, and has shot all over Europe. Now the only thing that keeps me human about this film is that Luc Besson is also not directing. If he were… CHRIST, you would not even begin to hear the end of it from me.

I mean think for a second. In LEON (aka THE PROFESSIONAL), Besson took Jean Reno… a really cool French dude and turn him into the biggest and coolest badass you’ve ever seen. Now, in my reality-brain, I realize that Jean Reno is probably not a bad ass. My reality-brain tells me that Jean Reno probably does drink milk and watch Gene Kelly movies, but most definitely does not kill people.

Jet Li? Jet Li in my reality-brain can kick everyone on planet Earth’s ass at the same time and twice on Sunday.

And if Besson has a great protégé helming this film and working from a great Besson script… Then Jet Li could literally be even cooler than we’ve seen before… and that really is saying something. Jet is a charming as can be fella, and with the right project… He could take off in a really really huge way in the U.S. I’m hoping that this is that launchpad.


Ya know, I may be negative about the physical costume garb that the Rick Baker Simian make-up dudes are wearing, but I can not repeat or stress enough how much I want to see this movie.

But I do have trepidations. First, I’m not entirely convinced that we really need to do a PLANET OF THE APES movie in 2001. Doesn’t mean I’m not dying to see it, but ya know I really love the original films.

Right now, I can firmly say that I can’t imagine what a Tim Burton PLANET OF THE APES movie is. And that’s great and scary and disarming all at once. The screenwriter, Bill Broyles is the man… but I also heard the script went into a lot of changes when Burton came aboard. But Tim Burton is one… of a very select group of filmmakers, whom haven’t made a single film that I didn’t like. I can’t say that about Spielberg. I’m pulling for Burton to deliver this as only he can… with that quirky sense of design and wicked giggle behind the camera. I’m there.


Sam Mendes, Tom Hanks, David Self and the LONE WOLF & CUB story with a 30’s Gangland Chicago Slant. Hanks unlike anything we’ve seen before. A man we don’t want to mess with. Hard nosed and tough as hell. A killer.

Complete and utter faith in the film. David Self has yet to write a script that didn’t engage me completely (now what has happened to said material on its journey to a theater near you and me is a different matter). Sam Mendes has an excellent track record. (sorry… can’t stop laughing) And that Tom Hanks ain’t a slouch either. This can not come soon enough, and it is so far away.

2. Coen Brothers’ BARBER PROJECT

It is the next film from the Coen Brothers. That’s all I need know.


Because of everything I hope it is. Because it can be something I’ve never seen before. Because I so much want it to cast a spell over movie fans everywhere in that perfect way. Because I want it to be that film that unites fans and not stack them on either side… positioning to out whatever one another. I want this to be a glorious triumph, not to out do this film or that… but simply because beautiful perfect things need to exist to inspire.

Yes, my expectations are high, but I don’t believe unreasonably so. I want the air to be knocked out of me. To be floored and profoundly in love with what can be done with cinema.

So basically… I want a film that isn’t about this part or that being great. Or the old standard of, if only they had done this or that.

Now, there are other films that I’m dying to see this year in the biggest expectation way… but last year I made 10, so this year I list 10. I still want to see MONKEY BONE. I want ATLANTIS to be great. I am DYING to see MONSTERS INC, but the teaser trailer didn’t knock me out… and I realize it is just a teaser. Knock me around, but I’m dying to see SHREK. Spike Jonze has ADAPTATION coming! David Fincher has PANIC ROOM. Paul Thomas Anderson and Quentin Tarantino could possibly release a film this year. My local filmmakers, Linklater, Rodriguez and Del Toro all have new films this year… hell, Linklater has two. I have dreams of JURASSIC PARK 3 ruling the earth. Also we have the FINAL FANTASY film which hopefully is more than eye-candy! Then there is ENEMY AT THE GATES which could be the first great WWII movie of the year, which would also have John Woo's WINDTALKERS to cap it with! There are K-19 and THE BIJOU coming. Whatever HARRY POTTER is, the enthusiasm of others has possessed me as well, though I want to see the film with no literary expectations (LOTR has that saddle as it is). OCEAN’S ELEVEN and THE TIME MACHINE (especially since I’ve heard the script has had a major re-write that is supposed to now rule!) There is Scorsese’s GANGS OF NEW YORK which could be a freaking MASTERPIECE! Cameron Crowe has VANILLA SKY and the Hughes Brothers have FROM HELL and Michael Mann has ALI… Peter Hyams has a very expensive independent production of the 3 Musketeer story called D’ARTAGNAN with what is heard to be masterful fight choreography unlike anything we’ve seen and the script was pretty darn wonderful. Also, there is BLOW, which while I’ve seen it and love it… you have not, so you must see it.

People keep talking about 2002 and listing the sequels that will flood that year, but frankly… This year could be one for the record books in terms of quality. Of course at the beginning of each year and looking ahead you hope for greatness and you prepare for doom. I suppose it is possible that I could be disappointed with each and every pick I have made and all the films above… and from out of the Indie circuit… helmed by unknowns and newbies… with budgets and films we know and have heard nothing about could sweep up and capture us all.

In a perfect world it would be a combination of all of this… That I’d come away at the end of the year ecstatic about 50 movies! And even better, I would see nothing but great films… but well… JUWANNA MAN is coming… and so are many other films expected to suck ass. Now, let’s get started.

SUNDANCE is coming, SLAMDANCE and LAPDANCE… The first wave of diamonds will be ferreted. I can’t wait!

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