Fantastic flicks on the horizon? |

Fantastic flicks on the horizon?

Charlie Owen
Vail,CO, Colorado
special to the daily

Now that the summer blockbuster movie season is over, Hollywood expects us to sit back and enjoy some highbrow melodrama. This time each year actors begin bucking for Oscars and special effects are replaced with dramatic dialogue. It’s not all downers and discourse at your local theater though; Here are a few choice cuts that should pair well with your popcorn.

Miramax/Paramount, Rated R

Ethan and Joel Cohen (“Fargo,” “The Big Lebowski”) direct this violent thriller adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name. The cast is full of heavy-hitters like Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin; and if you haven’t seen the trailer for this film yet, don’t be surprised when you find it more interesting than most movies in the theater right now.

When Llewelyn Moss (Brolin) wanders across a drug deal gone bad, he finds a load of heroin and cash in the back of a pickup truck at the scene. He takes the money and bolts only to find that he’s now being pursued by a host of bad guys, most notably a stranger who flips a coin to decide whether or not his victims will live or die.

It’s a bare-bones crime story turned upside down. Using the barren dessert of the Rio Grande as the setting, and replacing hunky young detectives with bitter old men, the Cohen brothers discard the traditional rules in favor of their own. Whether or not “No Country For Old Men” will live up to the hype remains to be seen. Heads or tails, you call it.

To see the trailer visit

MGM, Rated R

Early this year Tom Cruise vanished from the public eye faster than he could jump on Oprah’s couch. That’s a good thing, considering how fast he and Katy Holmes wore out their welcome on the cover of tabloid magazines. After a brief acting sabbatical, he’s back with a vengeance, flexing his chops once again with another juicy dramatic role in “Lions for Lambs.”

Robert Redford directs as well as stars alongside Meryl Streep and Cruise in this taut expose about politics and war.

Two college students decide to join the battle in Afghanistan and find themselves the lynchpin for political scandal in Washington D.C. as Senator Jasper Irving (Cruise) seeks to use them as leverage with the press. In the tradition of “Babel” and “Crash,” “Lions for Lambs” strings together many separate stories with one common thread, revealing in the end how all of our fates are tied to each other.

To see the trailer visit

New Line Cinema, Not Yet Rated

Finally, something that kids and adults can both agree on. Thanks to the recent box office success of “The Chronicles of Narnia,” every childrens fantasy book worthy of being adapted for the big screen, will be. The Golden Compass is no exception.

Based on a series of books by Phillip Pullman, this flick looks like a visual feast, but will the plot hold up? Who knows, maybe the giant armored polar bears and flying sailboats will be enough.

But for those who must have plot, a young girl named Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) sets out to rescue her friend who has been kidnapped by an organization called the Gobblers. Lyra is entrusted with a golden compass that supposedly controls the fate of all worlds.

Oh yeah, giant polar bears fight, too.

To see the trailer visit

Warner Bros., Not Yet Rated

Will Smith plays Robert Neville, a brilliant scientist who is also the last man on the planet. Or is he? After a deadly man-made plague is released, Neville finds himself alone in New York and uninfected. He sends out radio transmissions in hopes of finding somebody else alive, and he hunts for food and roams the city freely during the day. But at night, the infected zombie-esque people come out, and they are after Neville. His only hope is to find a cure for the virus and reverse the damage before he runs out of time and places to hide.

To see the trailer visit

Paramount, Not Yet Rated

This could get confusing, but bear with me. J.J. Abrams has produced and directed episodes of the television series “Lost,” and he is now at the helm of a new project that’s shrouded in mystery and deceit. It seems the studio is trying to misdirect the public with false information about the plot. Even the movie’s working title is believed to be a diversion, and the official website for the film is no help, either. In fact, the only thing really concrete about the film is the cast

The trailer shows scenes at a party in New York shot on hand-held cameras.

Suddenly the city comes under attack by an unseen assailant, presumably a monster. It’s kind of like the “Blair Witch Project” meets “Godzilla.” The cast was selected secretly without the distribution of a script, in hopes of preventing any plot leaks.

Obviously Paramount is launching an advertising campaign designed to make the public wet their pants in anticipation, and, so far, it seems to be working. Rumors that it’s another “Godzilla” flick, or possibly a “Voltron” incarnation abound on the web and no clues can be found as to the truth of what this movie is really all about.

Genius marketing or unmerited hype? Ticket sales will answer that question.

To see the trailer visit

Arts and Entertainment writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or

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