Excess Hollywood

In the season of sequels and Happy Meals toys, '05 may be a pleasant surprise

Why it will be fabulous: Michael Bay made The Rock.

Why it will be dreadful: He also made Armageddon and Pearl Harbor.

July 29

Star Wars Episode III
Star Wars Episode III
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Brothers Grimm

Starring: Matt Damon and Heath Ledger

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

Written by: Ehren Kruger

What it's about: A fictionalized fantasy about the German fairy-tale authors, here portrayed as con men who lift fake curses only to encounter a genuine form of black magic that will force them to deal with things they've only written about.

Why it will be fabulous: After Gilliam's aborted Don Quixote effort, The Brothers Grimm sees him back in fantasy mode, which is what he does best.

Why it will be dreadful: Its release was postponed for a year, as Miramax's Harvey Weinstein tried recutting it. His version then scored lower with test audiences than Gilliam's did.

August 5

Broken Flowers

Starring: Bill Murray, Sharon Stone, Tilda Swinton, Jessica Lange, and Julie Delpy

Written and directed by: Jim Jarmusch

What it's about: Murray plays Don Johnston (heh), an aging, sweatsuit-sporting Lothario who's dumped by his young girlfriend (Delpy) just as he receives news of a 20-year-old son he never knew. (Shades of The Life Aquatic, but still...) Jeffrey Wright (Basquiat) is the pal who convinces Murray to take a trip down Amnesia Lane to see his old lovers, including Stone, Swinton, Lange, and other all-stars, and find out if any of them might be the mother.

Why it will be fabulous: Did you not just read the synopsis?

Why it will be dreadful: Seriously, read it again. And then rent Coffee and Cigarettes for the Bill Murray scene with The RZA and The GZA. Dreadful. Hardly. Then again, Dead Man does kinda suck.

August 5

The Pink Panther

Starring: Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Beyoncé Knowles, and Jean Reno

Directed by: Shawn Levy

Written by: Len Blum, Steve Martin, Michael Saltzman, and Glen Bloomberg

What it's about: A new take on Peter Sellers' surpassingly incompetent French detective in which Jacques Clouseau (Martin) tackles a case combining a murdered soccer coach, a priceless diamond, and the usual selection of beautiful women.

Why it will be fabulous: It takes les grandes balles for Martin to assail the rich life and high art of Inspector Clouseau.

Why it will be dreadful: Can The Jerk out-bumble Peter the Great? The smart money says non.

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