For most of 2006 I didn’t watch many films: the usual suspects like Superman and Pirates and a few goodies at the Festival – but since September I’ve seen everything. Too many, one might say. Anyway, I’m not qualified to do a review of 2006 (and I’ve never been much of a one for looking back when forwards is much more interesting) so here is a guide to some of the anticipated highlights of 2007. These are a few that I’m looking forward to.
Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett kick-off with Babel early in January with Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto soon after. The entire female cast of Almodóvar’s Volver won the best actress prize at Cannes in 2006 – also January.
Shortbus won’t be up for any awards but I missed it during the Festival and heard great things. Will Smith bookends the year with The Pursuit of Happyness in January and I Am Legend in December. Stallone brings Rocky Balboa out of retirement one last time in February, Robert De Niro directs, and stars with Matt Damon, in the story of the CIA, The Good Shepherd. The Oscar front-runner already is Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima, companion piece to this year’s Flags of our Fathers but from the Japanese perspective. Cate Blanchett will be battling Judi Dench for best actress, both are in Notes on a Scandal.
March sees the kiwi comedy horror Black Sheep arrive alongside the new film from the Shaun of the Dead creators: Hot Fuzz. George Clooney and, yes, Cate Blanchett AGAIN go noir in The Good German. First Fest of the year, the World Cinema Showcase starts on March 29.
Taika Cohen’s Eagle Vs Shark is due in April, as is the Latin American Film Festival. May is sequel month with Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and 28 Weeks Later all taking up screen space. Also in May you get a chance to make a film of your own: 48HR Film Comp shoot weekend is 18–19 May.
Will Ferrell’s latest sport is speed-skating in Blades of Glory (June) followed by more sequels: Ocean’s 13 and Shrek 3. In July Michael Bay blows stuff up in Transformers, Bruce Willis finally returns as John McClane in Live Free or Die Hard, The Simpsons hit the big screen and Wellington enjoys the 36th International Film Festival.
The Coen Brothers adapt Cormac McCarthy in No Country for Old Men (August) and Matt Damon returns in The Bourne Ultimatum. There’s another Harry Potter due in September and Kiwi-Samoan horror The Tattooist is also pencilled in for September along with the next Pixar animation Ratatouille.
Viggo Mortensen teams up with Naomi Watts and director David Cronenberg for Eastern Promises, a thriller about the Russian mafia in London (September). Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig remake Invasion of the Body Snatchers in The Invasion, due in November. Jerry Seinfeld’s animated comedy Bee Movie hits screens in December along with The Waterhorse (shot in Wellington last year and starring Ben Chaplin and Emily Watson) but my Christmas pick for next year is His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, the first of a trilogy I really can’t wait to see. Luckily, there’s plenty to keep me going until then.
Printed in Wellington’s Capital Times on Wednesday December 27, 2006.