Most movie studios wait until the latter half of the year to release their Oscar contenders… in other words all the good movies they have in their stable that they don't think anyone will see. With 2005's summer so lackluster, maybe it'll be fall where audiences will make a move. Forget about the flop of The Island, this fall movie season is packed full of potential. It also plays host to Saw II. I think we can all agree the world would be a better place without that.

This fall plays host to a slew to Oscar winners, giant monkeys (yes I'm talking about Jack Black), clay figures, flying houses, vampires, messiah lions, boy wizards, and yes… even Jim Carrey. To prepare, I've put together a fairly comprehensive look at what you can expect this fall movie season. To make it extra crispy, I dragged CB Critics Rafe Telsch, Lexi Feinberg, and Scott Gwin into my office and made them chime in with their thoughts on each film too. So, below is Cinema Blend's Fall Movie Preview 2005. You won't find every fall movie there, but you will find the ones that matter. Beware release dates, they like to change. Bookmark the page and mark your calendars.


Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
When can I see it? September 23
Who's in it? Clay figures. But Johnny Depp, Helena Bohnam Carter, Emily Watson, and Albert Finney provide the voices.
What's it about? Tim Burton returns to stop-motion animation (having previously had a hand in producing The Nightmare Before Christmas) in the dark, wonderfully Burtonesque story of a man who puts a wedding ring on the finger of a skeleton as a joke and ends up married to a walking, talking corpse. This naturally leaves his flesh and blood fiancée somewhat perturbed.

Josh Says: Finally! Tim quits messing around with old people and monkeys and gets back to being Burton. Skeletons, freaks, and rotting corpses is where he belongs. If this is half as good as Nightmare Before Christmas I'm in.
Lexi Says: Burton hasn't made a truly great movie since the 1990's. What better way back to glory than a claymation tale about necrophilia?


When can I see it? September 23
Who's in it? Jodie Foster, Sean Bean
What's it about? Jodie Foster stars as a grieving mother whose child disappears on an airplane in mid-flight. To make matters worse, everyone on the plane insists that her child doesn’t even exist. She’s either crazy, or everyone’s out to get her. Probably Sean Bean is to blame, since he plays the airliner’s pilot.

Josh Says: The official tagline for the film describes this as a Hitchockian thriller... a sure sign that it is in fact not. About five years ago I became bored with Jodie Foster and have never fully recovered.
Rafe Says: I’m trying to figure the difference between this and Julianne Moore’s The Forgotten from last year. Think about it: mousy mother loses child who appears to be removed from existence. I bet it has something to do with aliens... or the government. The truth is out there!


When can I see it? September 30
Who's in it? The passengers aboard Joss Whedon's ark, and the pirate from Dodgeball.
What's it about? The failed TV show "Firefly" inexplicably gets new life as a feature film. It’s the story of a bunch of ne'er-do-well renegades in a far off future running around in their spaceship making trouble. Their ship is named Serenity and because this is a Joss Whedon project there’s an ass kicking hottie on board. The big question of the series and probably the movie too is: Where did she learn kung-fu?

Josh Says: Joss Whedon’s hilarious dialogue and the fact that it’s an adult movie set in outer space makes it worth watching, but it runs the risk of catering only to hardest of hardcore fanboys.
Scott Says: What do you mean this isn't a Seinfeld movie based on Festivus? I'm really happy for the Joss Whedon fans who finally got their movie, but it's going to take more than the phrase "from the guy who created Buffy" to make Serenity a success.


Other September Stuff

Lord of War - September 16
Who's in it? Nic Cage, Jared Leto
Premise? Nic Cage plays an arms dealer having a morality crisis.

Cry Wolf - September 16
Who's in it? Expendable teenagers
Premise? A killer stalks via instant messenger

Everything is Illuminated - September 16 (limited)
Who's in it? Elijah Wood
Premise? A Jewish American man explores his European, World War II roots.

MirrorMask - September 30 (limited)
Who's in it? Creatures from the Jim Henson Shop
Premise? Henson grows up with a fantasy script by Neil Gaiman. Labyrinth without the sucking of David Bowie.


When can I see it? October 14
Who's in it? Keira Knightley
What's it about? Very loosely based on the true story of Ford model turned bounty hunter Domino Harvey, the film follows Domino’s journey into pay-for-play crime fighting. Keira Knightley stars in the lead role, and is qualified because she looks really hot. The real Domino Harvey died a few months ago under suspicious circumstances but that will be left out of the film.

Josh Says: The trailer gives me seizures. She's a bounty hunter! We get it! Keira Knightley is such a bad actress she can't even pull of a British accent... and she's British.
Lexi Says: We all know that Keira Knightley can't act, but she is really, really pretty to look at. Practically gorgeous. Stunning. We don't know for sure if Domino Harvey was a lesbian, but I better be careful before I sound like one myself.


When can I see it? October 14
Who's in it? The Rock, Karl Urban without his Underverse
What's it about? The popular video game "Doom" is loosely adapted into a science fiction/horror film. It's the story of a Special Ops team drawn to Mars by a distress signal. When they arrive, they find demonic creatures from another dimension hiding in the shadows, slaughtering the survivors.

Josh Says: I'm so sick of special ops. I hear those words and I instantly shut down. Throwing demons at the special ops doesn't help. Can we call them an assasin squad, or the Care Bear Power Friends, or something? I'm dissapointed that The Rock still hasn't found something really good to be in.
Rafe Says: The only Doom I cared about this year already got screwed up in Fantastic Four. I expect this action flick starring "The Rock" to be pretty messed up as well, although not as bad as originally anticipated (at least it’s now set on Mars). Still, it has all the evidence of a bad video game adaptation lacking only the Uwe Boll name to completely ruin it.


Saw II
When can I see it? October 28
Who's in it? A new kid on the block
What's it about? Jigsaw, the killer from the previous film is still running around ensnaring people in grizzly traps. In Saw II he’s being investigated by Eric Mason (played the poor man’s Marky Mark, Donnie Wahlberg), a detective caught in the middle his killing spree. Because this is a sequel, they’ve got to give us more. Last time it was two people trapped in a room, this time it is eight strangers. All are unaware of their connection to one another and must play out Jigsaw’s twisted games if they want to keep on breathing.

Josh Says: I don't want them to keep breathing. Kill them, let Westley have a good cry and get over it. No one liked the first one, who do they think is going to like this one?
Scott Says: The poster says, "Oh yes, there will be blood". Of course, there will also be bad acting, tons of sequel cliches, moronic dialogue and a repetitive plot, but don't worry there will be blood.


The Legend of Zorro
When can I see it? October 28
Who's in it? Antonio "The Sexy" Banderas, Catherine "Hell Valkyrie" Zeta-Jones
What's it about? Banderas and Zeta are back and doing the cool things that Zorro does… like carving Z’s in someone’s ass. This time, Zorro battles retirement and gets followed around by a really cute kid. California's statehood is threatened, and the masked avenger fights back.

Josh Says: I'm long since soured on the terminally bitchy Catherine Z, but it'll be nice to see someone besides Orlando Bloom buckling his swash.
Lexi Says: I think I would rather sit through one of Catherine's T-Mobile commercials.


Other October Rollouts

Wallace & Gromit: Tale of the Were Rabbit - October 7
Who's in it? Things made of clay that aren't really as funny as people say they are.
Premise? Bunnicula robbed.

Elizabethtown - October 14
Who's in it? Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon
Premise? Overrated director Cameron Crowe proves it.

Shopgirl - October 21
Who's in it? Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman
Premise? A salesgirl and aspiring artist must decide between an older man and a younger man.

The Weatherman - October 28 (maybe)
Who's in it? Nic Cage
Premise? A weatherman is very depressed. People dump things on him.


Chicken Little
When can I see it? November 4
Who's in it? A bunch of computer pixels. Voices by Zach Braff, Steve Zahn, Fred Willard, Don Knotts, Patrick Stewart, and every other cool person on the planet except William Shatner.
What's it about? Chicken Little mistakes a falling acorn for falling sky and starts a panic. Eventually people figure out that he's crying wolf. Suddenly, the sky is falling for real and no one will listen. Aliens attack and the funny little chicken who no one believes is left to try and save the world.

Josh Says: Disney’s fairytale well must be running pretty dry if they have to resort to adapting a third rate kids fable like Chicken Little. Next year, look for Ugly Duckling: The Revenge. I miss Aladdin.
Rafe Says: Yes! Disney finally gets its hands dirty with a little homemade 3D animation. Zach Braff as the paranoid chicken is sure to prove to the world the House of Mouse doesn’t need Pixar. Seriously: Don Knotts? Garry Marshall? Patrick Stewart and Adam West? Talk about your inspired casting. Forget about the rest of these movies. I’ll be getting in line for this one now.


When can I see it? November 11
Who's in it? Kids and Dax Shepard (who probably qualifies as a kid)
What's it about? Two young brothers are sent hurdling through space in their house when they play a magical board game. The story is based on the book "Zathura" by children's author Chris Van Allsburg. Allsburg, you won't be surprised to learn, also wrote the book adapated into the Robin Williams film Jumanji, though "Zathura" isn't a sequel to that story. Along the way Dax Shepard shows up as an astronaut, and look for robots, meteors, and spaceships as well.

Josh Says: Dax Shepard gives me a case of the dry heaves, but it's directed by Jon Favreau (whom I worship) and I love the fact that he's avoiding the use of CGI in favor of much better practical effects. This could be great.
Scott Says: Elementary school teachers can rejoice! Yet another kid's book brought to the big screen. I suppose there's room for one more "board game becomes real" movie. Frankly I wish my Monopoly game would come to life. I could use the money.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
When can I see it? November 17
Who's in it? The usual cast plus Ralph Fiennes, and Brendan Gleeson
What's it about? The fourth film in this series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire follows Harry and his friends at yet another year of Hogwart's School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Spicing things up is the Triwizard Tournament, in which students from various wizarding schools compete in magic themed, increasingly difficult challenges.

Josh Says: As long as Christopher Columbus isn't directing I'm interested.
Lexi Says: We could all use an extra pinch of wizardary in our diets. See Harry outwit more bad guys as J.K. Rowling acquires enough money to purchase the galaxy and beyond.


Walk the Line
When can I see it? November 18
Who's in it? Joaquin Pheonix
What's it about? Joaquin Pheonix tries to pull a Jamie Foxx in a biopic about the life of the hard-livin country music legend. The film starts with his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm and tells his story through his rise to fame in Memphis, where he knocked around with legends like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

Josh Says: Dramatically speaking, Johnny Cash is a much more interesting figure than Ray Charles, and Joaquin Pheonix is at least as good an actor as Jamie Foxx. Bring on the Man in Black.
Rafe Says: Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon are the last two actors I'd think of for a biopic about one of country music's most prominent stars. If the trailer is any indication though, these two are on par with Jamie Foxx's Ray, who also would have been one of my last picks for the blind pianist. Just goes to show, I should never cast biopics.


Other Knarly November Releases

Jarhead - November 4
Who's in it? Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, Jake Gyllenhaal
Premise? The experiences of soliders fighting in Kuwait during Desert Storm.

The New World - November 11
Who's in it? Colin Farrell, Christian Bale, Christopher Plummer
Premise? Colin Farrell goes back in time to sleep with Pocahontas... the only woman in the universe he hasn't had sex with yet.

Rent - November 11 (limited)
Who's in it? Rosario Dawson, Taye Diggs, the original Broadway cast
Premise? A movie version of the popular musical.

The Ice Harvest - November 23
Who's in it? John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton
Premise? A Christmas crime comedy without the usual, lame John Cusack romantic tendencies.


Aeon Flux
When can I see it? December 2
Who's in it? Charlize Theron, John Hurt
What's it about? Ready to cash in after her big Oscar win, Charlize Theron has scored her "take it to the bank" project; a futuristic, action/spy/espionage movie called Aeon Flux. Based on a VERY adult cartoon from the days when MTV still had some content mixed in with their corporate advertising, it’s the story of one of those dystopian futures that seem so popular and a super-spy trying to take the government down. We assume she's fighting for freedom or something.

Josh Says: This is not a good look for her.
Scott Says: Pronounced A-One Flush, this has got to be the craziest TV series-to-movie adaptation ever. It's hard to understand why Whedon fans had to petition to get Serenity made but Hollywood produced this one all on its own.


Memoirs of a Geisha
When can I see it? December 9
Who's in it? Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh, and the rest of China
What's it about? Based on the well known novel of the same name by Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha is the story of a woman named Chiyo from a poor fishing village. sold to a Kyoto geisha house in 1929 at the age of nine. There, she's treated cruelly until her stunning beauty prompts rescue by a woman named Mameha. Under her tutelage, she becomes a Geisha of great renown, amidst the looming specter of approaching World War II.

Josh Says: Please tell me Ken Watanabe gets more than a glorified cameo. I love that guy in a nearly unhealthy way.
Lexi Says: A movie filled with promise, inspiration, and lots of talented chinese people. If screenplay writer Akiva Goldsman gets this right, I may forgive him for that "you are the champion of my heart" line from Cinderella Man. On second thought, I'm not that forgiving.


The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe
When can I see it? December 9
Who's in it? Kids, The Spirit of Jesus
What's it about? Based on the first (sort of) book in the classic series of "Narnia" books by author C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tells the tale of four kids who step through a magical wardrobe into a fantastical new world called Narnia. They discover it's their destiny to free Narnia from an evil witch with the help of Narnia's powerful lion messiah.

Josh Says: I loved the books as a kid, but can't seem to get very excited about the movies. Lord of the Rings satiated all my fantasy lust through at least the next decade or so. If I need to see Narnia, I'm happy going back and re-watching the old BBC miniseries.
Rafe Says: I want to like this movie. I want to be excited about this movie. But I’m not. I think it’s just too soon after Lord of the Rings to be bringing this out. It seems like a desperate attempt to cash in on Harry Potter and LoTR’s success... which it is.


King Kong
When can I see it? December 14
Who's in it? Andy Serkis motion-capture performs Kong, Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrian Brody
What's it about? A retelling of the well known story. The 1933 version is regarded as a classic, but Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson plans to bring his own vision to it. It’s the story of an expedition crew discovering a gigantic ape on a mysterious, far off island. The ape-monster King Kong becomes obsessed with a beautiful, blonde female member of their crew, and is eventually captured and shipped back to New York. Kong doesn’t take well to captivity.

Josh Says: I'd rather he was making The Hobbit, but Jackson's take on the Kong story looks stunning. See it for the unsung work of Andy Serkis and the greatness of Jack Black.
Scott Says: It's a special effects dazzled remake of a movie about an oversized character who gets caught up in a film project turned fiasco involving a beautiful actress. He's played by Jack Black. Apparently there's a giant ape in there somewhere too.


Fun With Dick and Jane
When can I see it? December 21
Who's in it? Non-Oscar whoring Jim Carrey, Tea Leoni, Alec Baldwin
What's it about? A remake of the 1977 George Segal, Jane Fonda film of the same name, Fun With Dick and Jane is a comedy about a married couple who resorts to a life of crime to keep up their lifestyle after the loss of their high-paying jobs. It's (at least in part) written by Judd Apatow, the guy behind such greatness as TV's "Freaks and Geeks" and most recently The 40 Year-Old Virgin.

Josh Says: If it wasn't written by Apatow I'd have absolutely no interest. But with his thumbprint somewhere on the script and Jim Carrey back embracing funny it might be alright.
Lexi Says: Another kooky remake, but with Judd Apatow onboard to write, I am very interested in seeing it. Plus I miss seeing Jim Carrey acting like a crackhead doing gymnastics.


The Fountain
When can I see it? December ?
Who's in it? Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz
What's it about? If there's one thing you can certainly say for Darren Aronofsky's upcoming film The Fountain it's that it is ambitious. The film spans over one thousand years in following Hugh Jackman as multiple characters in each time period. Epic is hardly the word for it. It stitches together the world of Spanish Conquistadors in the Mayan jungle to a far-futuristic world on board a spaceship. Though each character Hugh plays is a different person, they're all involved in a quest for immortality and also all apparently named Tom Verde.

Josh Says: I'm really not sure what this movie is about, but if it actually gets released it could be one of the best films of the year.
Rafe Says: Everyone’s making a big deal about Hugh Jackman playing multiple roles over a long span of time, but didn’t Robin Williams already do this in Being Human? Although with Jackman I bet you get less disturbing back hair.


Other December Dung

Brokeback Mountain - December 9 (limited)
Who's in it? Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger
Premise? Gay stuff happens on a sheep ranch.

Cheaper By the Dozen 2 - December 23
Who's in it? Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt
Premise? The rediculously huge family from the first film goes on vacation. Yes, this is the best idea they could come up with.

The Producers - December 23 (limited)
Who's in it? Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, Will Ferrell
Premise? A movie version of the play based on the previous movie version. You know how when you make a copy of a copy the copy isn't quite as sharp as the original?

The Ringer - December 23
Who's in it? Johnny Knoxville, Someone Else
Premise? Two guys rig the Special Olympics for profit. No really.
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