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Mon, Feb 19, 2018 12:11 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-08-22 tracking life & times section
Fall films offer wide fare
Cletus Turner

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"Once Upon a Time in Mexico" (click for larger version)
Freddy Vs Jason, Open Range, and Grind ended the summer box office season with their releases. Now, it's time to look ahead to the fall season and see what we have in store for our viewing pleasure.

In September, we have a truly mixed bag of tricks. Everything from horror to westerns is represented.

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"In the Cut" (click for larger version)
Antonio Banderas, Selma Hayek and summer box office golden boy Johnny Depp star in Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Supposedly the third in a trilogy which includes El Mariachi from 1992 and Desperado from 1995, Once continues the story of the Mariachi, played by Banderas, and his best girl, Hayek. Depp will play an ex-CIA agent who tries to use the Mariachi for his own gain. We also get to see Willem Dafoe as a drug lord.

Although it is a horror film, many fans of vampires and werewolves are eagerly anticipating the release of Underworld. The film stars Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman and Michael Sheen. Beckinsale is a vampire who is part of a group that has been fighting the werewolves for centuries. Speedman is a werewolf. The two characters are attracted to one another, but the Romeo and Juliet theme isn't the main plot. It is treated, according to industry sources, as a subplot to the battle between the two species. Who comes out on top? That is a guarded secret for now. However, Beckinsale will be starring in Van Helsing next spring. A coincidence?

After The Scorpion King, the Rock became a hot commodity. Now, he gets his own vehicle outside The Mummy. Rock, Seann William Scott and Christopher Walken star in The Rundown. Set in the Brazilian rain forest, this film has Rock planning to kidnap an archeologist played by Scott. Scott is working for a corrupt industrialist played by Walken who has enslaved the people of the area to work for him. My problem with this film is going to be seeing Scott in a quasi-serious role. After the American Pie series, the actor will find it hard to break out of that role. From the previews I've seen, there is some humor for his character so he might slowly morph into a serious-role actor. He has often said in interviews that he wants the serious roles. This film will also be an indicator of how well the Rock can carry a movie outside a sequel with a built-in fan base. Walken is, well, Walken. He could probably carry the movie himself.

David Spade is at it again. Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star looks to be as exciting as a toothache. Joe Dirt was an abysmal movie, but it seems Spade was not done with that type of film yet. In Roberts, a former child star hires an adoptive family to show him what regular growing-up is like. Whose childhood was or is ever regular?

In October, there aren't a lot of films that are to be released that are considered top-of-the-line.

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"Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" (click for larger version)
Denzel Washington will star in the romantic drama Out Of Time. The film will co-star Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan and Dean Cain. Washington is a police chief who finds himself in hot water as he is accused of a crime. While trying to clear his name, he has to contend with his high school sweetheart, played by Lathan, and his ex-wife, played by Mendes. Both ladies have a hold on him and are mixed up in the funny business going on in town. Washington has shown that he can headline a film and have it be successful. Industry sources say this could be a sleeper hit for the month.

Nicole Kidman was supposed to star in and produce In the Cut, a thriller written by Susanna Moore in 1995. However, she decided not to do the film and Meg Ryan took the part of Franny, a literary professor.

Franny finds herself involved in a mystery involving a serial killer and involved with a cop played by Mark Ruffalo. This is a complete departure for Ryan who has been the All-American kind of girl in films like Sleepless in Seattle. This will be Ryan's first nude scene and there was even a question as to whether the actors would be able to do the graphic scenes. The filming of those scenes was left to the end of the process and the director actually went in not knowing whether they would be able to get the actors to do them. Sort of like real life...

Scary Movie 3 is a departure from the first two in the series. First, the Wayans brothers, who made the first two films so wildly popular, are no longer working on the project. Second, the film is written by Kevin Smith, the man who wrote, directed and starred in such films as Dogma, Chasing Amy and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Third, the film was directed by David Zucker who brought us Airplane! over 30 years ago. I must admit I wanted to see the film when I first saw a poster for it. Now that I know Smith, one of my favorites in the film industry, wrote the the script I want to see it even more. It also doesn't hurt that I loved and still love Airplane!. If this film is successful, maybe we'll see a part four, although I wouldn't count on it.

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"Scary Movie 3" (click for larger version)

Next week, we'll look at what's coming in November and December.

Freddy vs. Jason took the top of the box office with $36.4 million. That is more than most insiders predicted the movie would take in for its entire run. Although horror movies usually take a significant hit after their debut, we'll have to wait to see how well the film does after its second weekend at the box office. The fact that the only new release of a major variety is Jackie Chan's The Medallion might help the film remain on top.

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