Captain Jack Sparrow in this summer’s blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” ruled the summer box office, but the top contender for the fall movie season
is anyone’s guess.
September kicks off with two must-see documentaries, “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” and “The U.S. vs. John Lennon.” “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” examines the logic behind the Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings system. Despite the film industry’s countless battles with the MPAA, very few filmmakers opted to be interviewed on-screen. Directors that do appear, including “Boys Don’t Cry” director Kimberly Peirce and camp film king John Waters, offer interesting
insight on why certain on-screen elements translate into harsher ratings.
Politically-driven film “The U.S. vs. John Lennon” may be this year’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Directors David Leaf and John Scheinfeld chronicle Lennon’s transformation from an image-conscious musician to a socially-conscious anti-war activist.
October will offer plenty of horror flicks for Halloween fans, but also “Marie Antoinette” and a re-mastered 3-D version of Halloween classic “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The tale of the 19-year-old girl from Vienna who became queen of France marks director Sofia Coppola’s third feature film effort. Based on reviews from this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” focuses more on the beauty and isolation of the title character than on her notorious behavior during the French Revolution.
The theatrical re-release of the classic “The Nightmare Before Christmas” offers nothing new in terms of scenes or songs, but gives fans a chance to see it in 3-D. The film has taken on a cult following and there’s a good possibility that die-hard fans will attend theaters dressed as their favorite “Nightmare” characters.
Otherwise a slow month, November does see the premier of the highly anticipated new James Bond film, “Casino Royale.” 21st in the Bond series, “CR” replaces the aging Pierce Bronson with Daniel Craig (“Munich” and “Layercake”) as the new 007, the sixth actor to date to play Bond over the series’ 44 year history. To further shake up the Bond mould of recent years, “CR”, takes viewers back in time before Bond became a secret agent, basing it off the first book written in the Bond series by Ian Fleming.
December, in contrast, promises to be exciting and controversial. “The Passion of the Christ” director Mel Gibson’s new film “Apocalypto” will go head-to-head with poorly-
titled “The Nativity Story.” “Apocalypto” follows the story of a young Mayan running away from his sacrificial execution in an ancient Mayan kingdom. Gibson, who personally financed and profited from “Passion” in 2004, opted to create a film that stayed true to the Mayan culture from the costumes and sets to the Mayan language itself.
“The Nativity Story,” starring Academy Award-nominated actress Keisha Castle-Hughes of “Whale Rider,” recreates the marriage of Mary, mother of Jesus, and her husband Joseph in the days leading up to the birth of their son in Bethlehem. While the film deserves credit for tackling the seldom-told story of Mary and Joseph’s marriage and eventual journey, it loses authenticity for telling the tale in English.
In December, Sylvester Stallone’s highly-anticipated “Rocky Balboa” will pound its way into theaters. With his beloved Adrian dead, Rocky’s best days are behind him. When heavyweight champion Mason “The Line” Dixon offers him a chance at the title, Rocky finds himself yearning to get back in the ring. The sixth film in the “Rocky” franchise, “Rocky Balboa” could give Sylvester Stallone one hell of a career comeback, and Philadelphia its biggest cinematic boost since the arrival of M. Night Shyamalan.
Marta Rusek can be reached at email@example.com