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By Felix Vasquez Jr. | December 23, 2006

2006 was surely a year of bad filmmaking, and while there were definitely bright spots, there were more theaters filled with garbage than there were films worth watching. While 2007 is looking up as a year for genre fans, we’ll likely see more cash grabs and pure pieces of feces polluting theaters than films we can remember. Since January is quickly on the way, I picked some of the upcoming film releases I’m most excited to see while juxtaposing films I’m hoping are quickly forgotten by theater-goers. This is just the tip of the iceberg in the theatrical releases, yes, but hopefully this will be a better year than the one that brought us “Little Man,” “”The Wicker Man,” “Black Christmas,” “The Quiet,” and “The Covenant.”

“Is there a place in the head, when shot that can make it explode?” Butterman asks a befuddled Angel in the utterly anticipated “Hot Fuzz.” I’ve set my movie calendar around the upcoming release of this cop comedy from the same folks that brought us the masterpiece “Shaun of the Dead,” one of the funniest creepiest zombie films made in years, and if that’s not enough reason to watch this, I can just give you one word: “Spaced.” Period. Way to sell those action scenes, Pegg. There’s also “Reno911: Miami” which is an expected adaptation of the hilarious show that’s part “Police Academy” part “COPS.” Out of all of the films next year, though, I’m hoping audiences flock to “The Host” and discover this monster movie masterpiece. It’s essentially a very intelligent take on the genre, with a straight faced story of a monster wreaking havoc on Korea.

The monster is only a small part in an epic story about government corruption, germ warfare, and family. It has to be seen. Being such a fan of “28 Days Later,” I displayed much antipathy and pure anger at the upcoming “28 Weeks Later,” but after viewing clips of the production, I’m open to the possibility that this could be the “Aliens” to Boyle’s “Alien.” The upcoming “Grindhouse” which has become one of the few films I’m setting everything aside to see, is a film I’m weary of these days thanks in part to Tarantino, for reasons I can’t divulge. “Grindhouse” is a film I’m very excited to watch only for the entertaining fake trailers, the guarantee we’ll see two full length films in one showing, Rodriguez giving us a zombie film filled with a great cast, incredible action, and Rose McGowan with a c**k machine gun, and the possibility studios will begin to mimic this concept if pulled off successfully.

Roriguez is not a brilliant director but he knows how to give us a damn good horror film. I personally enjoyed “Land of the Dead,” even though I’ve come across many who didn’t. Granted, it doesn’t hold up well on repeated viewings, but it’s still a tight and entertaining bit of zombie carnage I hope Romero can improve on with “Diary of the Dead,” yet another entry into the “Dead” series this time focusing on a group of people making a movie in the woods who find themselves in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. It’s very disappointing Romero didn’t elaborate on the characters from “”Land,” but he’s very confident about this entry into the series, and I have high hopes. “Fido” is another zombie entry I’m anxious to watch only because the possibilities are endless. Set in an alternate world in the fifties, after a zombie apocalypse of their very own, a Canadian suburb is able to control the population of zombies. With special collars, they control the walking dead using them as pets and servants. But when Fido’s (Billy Connolly) collar breaks, there’s… some gore to be had.

Last year there was “Hard Candy,” and now there’s “Leslie Vernon,” a film I’m very anxious to see and hope to catch on its limited theatrical release. Reports from the horror front have confirmed it to be an excellent genre entry about a serial killer in the vein of Jason Voorhes. As a hardcore Beatles fan, “Across the Universe” is an intriguing premise, even if it’s not all original. A musical set to Beatles music. It’s been done, I’ll give you that, but it’s the Beatles. Case closed. And who can forget “Spider-Man 3” yet another film about the web crawler which now features the symbiote suit, Parker whining, the Sandman, Parker whining, Topher Grace as Eddie Brock, Parker whining, Bryce Dallas Howard, Parker whining, and Venom! As was the case with “Sin City,” the new Frank Miller adaptation “300” looks to bring audiences an exciting action picture about the Spartans and sword and sandals excitement to a film world void of it, and I’m admittedly welcoming this with open arms.

“I’ve gotten offers to do things and I always say no. Maybe if there was a certain movie where I felt like the original idea was great but the movie was bad, but I don’t understand remaking great films. It’s not that they’re bad movies. Maybe they’re better for a new wave of kids who haven’t seen the original. I just don’t understand the reason behind remaking a great film.” Yes, that was a quote from Rob Zombie, and 2007 brings us Rob Zombie’s “Halloween,” a remake that continues to pull me in all directions. On the one hand, Zombie did bring flair to “The Devil’s Rejects,” and it’s rumored Danielle Harris will play a big role in the remake, yet we have Malcolm McDowell as Loomis, which will be the first time we’ll see Loomis frighten audiences more than Michael; and if Zombie completely botches this, he’ll be deemed a martyr with the blame of the failure being pitted on the studios and studios alone. “They interferred. They didn’t let him give his vision.” He just can’t lose with this.

And then there’s “Transformers,” which will include giant robots that can turn into cars, large explosions, a massive war, and I’ll bet Michael Bay still fucks it up. In the too little, too late category there’s “The Simpsons Movie,” an adaptation of the long running show which begs the question: Can a show that stopped being funny years ago warrant a funny movie? As a hardcore fan of the series, this upcoming film would have excited me, but have you seen the show lately? Then there’s “Underdog,” which features a computer generated dog flying around and saving people, and boy what a masterpiece it will be. Especially since the original animated series wasn’t entertaining to begin with. Hated “Fantastic Four”? Everyone with taste did, but director Story is hoping to undercut any lack of interest by bringing in one of the better Marvel characters as a centerpiece. Silver Surfer appears, to take on the foursome in what will surely be a poorly told story with the requisite horrible computer effects.

Speaking of horrible effects, Nu Image brings us the wholly unnecessary remake “Day of the Dead,” which strips away the gore, carnage, thought provoking story, characterization, low-key pacing, and Bub to replace it with bad acting, zombies who can growl and leap like cheetahs, a zombie character named Bud, vegetable eating zombies, and a completely missed franchise opportunity as a separate entry from 2004’s “Dawn of the Dead.” How can we look forward to a movie being made by the same folks who were behind “Day of the Dead: Contagium”? If you saw “Day of the Dead: Contagium” you already know the answer to that. In the category of horrible remakes we have the utterly lame brained “The Hitcher,” which is slowly becoming an obvious botched job that takes the original story and… adds a woman this time. Genius. While Sean Bean is always great for the psycho role, this remake looks exactly the same as its predecessor.

Which I assumed the studios were trying to pull away from with their terms “re-imagining.” And in sequels there’s “White Noise 2,” which is basically “Final Destination” a la “The Purple Tesament.” While I’m a big fan of Nathan Fillion whose work in one of my favorite shows of all time can not go unnoticed, this is one of those typical sequels that don’t deserve to be made. And then there’s “Hostel II.” My favorite punching bag Eli Roth now casts women (genius!) in this sequel to the xenophobic franchise that finds a group of college girls being tortured and not much else. Anyone who knows me knows I despise Eli Roth and everything he’s involved in.

While “Hostel” was just sub-par, “Hostel II” is (not surprisingly) not a step up creatively. “”Hostel” now with women! Brilliance. Paul WS Anderson continues torturing us first with the nut stomping of the utterly disappointing “Alien vs. Predator,” and now brings us the sequel which is rumored to have both monsters throwing down in a supermarket. Will Smith pops up for the horror movie “I Am Legend” which is possibly the most disappointing casting news in years considering “I Am Legend” is filled with endless possibilities, yet we’ll surely be subjected to endless one-liners from Smith, super model vampires, and his usual sly charm in the face of flesh eating ghouls.

For all the people who utterly loved Jayma Mays as Charlie in “Heroes,” you will be disappointed to see her headlining the upcoming “Epic Movie,” yet another spin on the “Scary Movie” franchise. “Date Movie” was unspeakably bad and I foresee doom with this spoof of blockbusters that references “”Cribs” and “”Lord of the Rings.” But I’ll take “Epic Movie” over the “Bratz” movie any day. “Bratz” one of the many contributors to the decline in intelligence and values in America’s youth turning them into “Laguna Beach” clones, now brings us an upcoming live action movie which will surely be a film with complex and honest insight into today’s youth. In the history of films that should have never been made, this will be king.

What horrors and treasures will 2007 bring to film geeks? We shall see. I’m excited. My nipples are hard.

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  1. Rory L. Aronsky says:

    You can’t have forgotten it if you just remembered it. 😉

  2. Felix Vasquez Jr. says:

    I also forgot “Fanboys.” I can’t wait for that one.

  3. Rory L. Aronsky says:

    Another for my 2007 anticipation list: Beowulf.

  4. Felix Vasquez Jr. says:

    I forgot “Ultimatum.” I loved “Identity” and “Supremacy.”

    “Blood and Chocolate” is something I’ll see only because of the delicious Agnes Bruckner. I’d kick a two year old to cop a double handed feel from her.

    As for “Epic Movie,” well, even Zellweger had “TCM: The Next Generation.” Let’s hope Mays does something better this year.

  5. Rory L. Aronsky says:

    Movies I’m looking forward to in the new year (so far): Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix, The Simpsons Movie, The Bourne Ultimatum, Ratatouille and Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End.

    As to “Epic Movie,” my sister says she likes every movie she sees. Case in point, she has a VHS copy of “Spice World” in her collection and wants to get the DVD. But yesterday, while going through a slew of trailers on the Apple website, I showed her the one for “Epic Movie” and usually, there’s something in a trailer to get a reaction from her.

    Since I’d seen the “Epic Movie” trailer three times in disbelief, I looked to her for any reactions. I spotted the “What the F**k?” look which is a straight-ahead, unblinking stare, almost a shocked reaction. After it was over, she flat out told me: “I know I say that I like every movie I see, but that was stupid.”

    In continuing with 2007 movies, I went to see “Rocky Balboa” on Friday and the last trailer before the film was for Blood & Chocolate, which is about a woman whose secret is that she’s a werewolf and has to choose between love and destiny; that kind of crap. Sometimes I can’t believe the number of awful-looking movies that audiences respond to, but I don’t think Blood & Chocolate will be one of them because surprisingly, the entire theater laughed throughout the trailer. It was an even bigger laugh at the end with all the overdone theatrics. Good to know that sometimes, mass audiences recognize crap before it arrives.

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