Excess Hollywood

In the season of sequels and Happy Meal toys, 05 may be a pleasant surprise.

Why it will be fabulous: House had several loose ends that needed tying up, including the true nature of the mysterious Dr. Satan...

Why it will be dreadful: ...Dr. Satan isn't even in this sequel, and it looks like there's no interest on Zombie's part in resolving anything from the first go-round.


Starring: Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi and Michael Clarke Duncan as "The Big Bald Black Guy"

Directed by: Michael Bay

Written by: Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (Mission: Impossible III) and Caspian Tredwell-Owen (Beyond Borders)

What it's about: In the future, residents of a secluded facility all dream about going to "The Island," allegedly the last uncontaminated place on Earth. Naturally, it's all a lie: The Island is really a place where they get harvested for their vital organs. When amusingly named protagonist Lincoln Six-Echo (McGregor) learns this uncomfortable truth, a bunch of chases and explosions and really quick edits ensue.

Why it will be fabulous: Michael Bay made The Rock.

Why it will be dreadful: He also made Armageddon and Pearl Harbor.


Starring: Matt Damon and Heath Ledger

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

Written by: Ehren Kruger

What it's about: A fictionalized fantasy about the German fairy-tale authors, here portrayed as con men who lift fake curses, only to encounter a genuine form of black magic that will force them to deal with things they've only written about.

Why it will be fabulous: After Gilliam's aborted Don Quixote effort, The Brothers Grimm sees him back in fantasy mode, which is what he does best.

Why it will be dreadful: Its release was postponed for a year, as Miramax's Harvey Weinstein tried recutting it. His version then scored lower with test audiences than Gilliam's did.


Starring: Diane Lane, John Cusack, Stockard Channing, Christopher Plummer and Dermot Mulroney

Written and directed by: Gary David Goldberg

What it's about: Romantic comedy based on a novel by Claire Cook, in which a teacher in her forties (Lane) tries to find love through the personals. She ends up meeting John Cusack.

Why it will be fabulous: Most guys wanna get with Diane Lane, and most women wanna get with John Cusack. And neither is repellent to the same sex, which is a plus.

Why it will be dreadful: Every hack film columnist in America is already preparing to write, "If you really like this movie...you Must Love Dogs!"


Starring: Kelly Preston, Kurt Russell, Lynda Carter and Bruce Campbell

Directed by: Mike Mitchell (Surviving Christmas)

Written by: Paul Hernandez and Bob Schooley & Mark McCorkle (Kim Possible)

What it's about: In a world full of superhumans, the teenage son of Captain Stronghold (Russell) and Josie Jetstream (Preston) tries to navigate the hurdles of adolescence while training at a school for heroes.

Why it will be fabulous: TV's original Wonder Woman plays the school principal, while the impossibly square-jawed Campbell is head coach.

Why it will be dreadful: There's no way it'll be better than The Incredibles, though it might rip it off some.


Starring: Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel and Josh Lucas

Directed by: Rob Cohen

Written by: Cohen and W.D. Richter (Big Trouble in Little China)

What it's about: After a super-advanced stealth fighter is struck by lightning, the onboard computer takes on a life of its own and decides to initiate the next world war.

Why it will be fabulous: WarGames meets Short Circuit? How could it not be?

Why it will be dreadful: Okay, yeah, it's made by the director of xXx and The Skulls, so it might be pretty bad.



Starring: Courteney Cox-Arquette and James LeGros

Directed by: Greg Harrison (Groove)

Written by: Benjamin Brand

What it's about: A photographer (Cox-Arquette) seems to be losing her mind as she repeatedly replays, in her mind, the events that led up to her boyfriend (LeGros) getting shot.

Why it will be fabulous: It's about time Cox-Arquette branched out.

Why it will be dreadful: Is Cox-Arquette capable of branching out?


Directed by: Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette

What it's about: Ostensibly it's about 100 comedians (from Bob Saget to Robin Williams to Gilbert Gottfried to Phyllis Diller) telling the same infamous ribald joke about 100 different ways -- but it's much, much more. It's more like a comedy jam session, during which several generations of stand-ups reveal their technique and approach, using "The Aristocrats" (a joke about a family of would-be performers auditioning for an agent, more or less) as their springboard.

Why it will be fabulous: Because Sarah Silverman's telling of the joke is worth the price of admission alone, and because you'll remember why you or anyone else thought Gottfried was funny in the first place. And because Saget has the foulest mouth this side of Ashley Olsen. And because the South Park clip kills.

Why it will be dreadful: It's about twenty minutes too long, but you'll have laughed yourself into a coma by the end, so you won't really mind or even notice.


Starring: Bill Murray, Sharon Stone, Tilda Swinton, Jessica Lange and Julie Delpy

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