USA Today have posted a comprehensive guide to what you should be watching this year in films. They have directed their attention towards the TOP 5 films and have given a run down of each of the film's details. Included in the list are Batman Begins, War of the Worlds, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and King Kong.
Here's a sample...
War of the Worlds (June 29)
•What's popping? A close encounter of the deadly kind. Tom Cruise re-teams with Minority Report director Steven Spielberg in a retelling of author H.G. Wells' paranoia-propelled sci-fi fantasy from 1898. Space invaders (who are NOT Martians) are out to annihilate the Earth in general and — borrowing the setting from Orson Welles' 1938 radio play that panicked the nation — New Jersey in particular.
But what is a Spielberg thriller without a dose of domestic drama in the midst of mass terror and destruction? Cruise is a divorced blue-collar dad who's forced to face up to his responsibilities when he has to save his family, including moppet-of-the-moment Dakota Fanning as his daughter.
•A few more kernels. Remember when Spielberg was the go-to guy for cuddly aliens such as E.T.? Zap that thought. "I have not seen Steven have this much fun in a long time," says producer Kathleen Kennedy of his return to sci-fi action. "He's uniquely suited to this genre in a way no one else is."
Remember how Spielberg dropped nerve-rattling hints that a dino rampage was afoot in his Jurassic Park movies? Expect the same. "There are tons of those moments," Kennedy says. In fact, there's one in the first 15 minutes that "will knock your socks off."
•Bonus treat. The leggy alien war machines that shoot out lethal beams of light. "Let's just say that they are five times the size of a T. rex," Kennedy says.
•Yum factor. Spielberg hasn't gone the thrill-ride route for a while. But if anyone can make us care about attacks by intergalactic beings in these fretful post-9/11 times, it's the filmmaker who made us all shark-phobic with Jaws.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (July 15)
•What's popping? Director Tim Burton and Johnny Depp join forces for the fourth time with this trippy take on author Roald Dahl's deliciously subversive fable, which also inspired the 1971 Gen-X fave Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
As before, good-natured Charlie Bucket (12-year-old Freddie Highmore, who reunites with his Finding Neverland co-star Depp) and his Grandpa Joe (David Kelly of Waking Ned Devine) win a chance to tour Wonka's wondrous candy factory.
They are joined by four gluttonous children who suffer sticky comeuppances, thanks to the wily Mr. Wonka. Willy's dad, Wilbur (Christopher Lee) — a new character — shows up in flashbacks.
•A few more kernels. The pop-art trailer suggests a psychedelic sugar rush is in store. But those salivating to hear The Candy Man, forget about it. "The only music is when the Oompa Loompas (the factory's tiny handymen) sing chants after each child encounters problems," says producer Richard Zanuck. As for the 1971 version, he says, "this not a remake. This is Tim's version of Dahl's book."
Burton is doing his best to bring Dahl's semi-sweet fantasy to high-caloric life, building a candy land on 17 soundstages at London's Pinewood Studio. Besides a chocolate river with an 80-foot waterfall, "there's a nut room with 200 squirrels at work," Zanuck says. Yes, actual rodents. "From birth, we sent them to training school for six months."
As for Depp's interpretation of the mysterious Wonka as a Carnaby Street mod hatter with a propensity for saying, "Let's boogie," Zanuck notes, "All I can say is that it lives up to his sense of the bizarre."
•Bonus treat. In the first movie, the Oompa Loompas were played by dwarfs. Now they are all played by the same 42-inch-tall actor, Dee Roy, who is shrunk via camera tricks to a mere 30 inches.
•Yum factor. Johnny Depp and chocolate outdoes peanut butter and chocolate any day.
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