Good fortune likely awaits these 10 stars in 2006:
Movies in 2006: The Good Shepherd; The Departed; Margaret
How best to bounce back from a Brothers Grimm 2005? By hooking up with two GoodFellas. Martin Scorsese presides over the cat-and-mouse game that is The Departed, an Americanized Infernal Affairs. And The Good Shepherd--with Damon playing real-life CIA agent James Wilson--finds Robert De Niro behind the cameras for the first time since 1993’s A Bronx Tale and going for Oscar gold.
Movies in 2006: The Shaggy Dog; Zoom; The Santa Clause 3
The former Home Improvement guru couldn’t build audience for his adult comedies, so he’s back to cracking up the entire family. Luckily for Allen, The Santa Clause is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving. And kids who love Allen as a hairy, plump Santa will probably love him as The Shaggy Dog. And Zoom could fly high if it’s the superhero equivalent of Galaxy Quest.
Movies in 2006: The Visiting; Infamous; Casino Royale
The new James Bond isn’t a familiar face like his predecessor, Pierce Brosnan. That’s certainly something of a risk for a franchise notorious for its conservative handling of 007. And the tightly wound Craig might evoke memories of Timothy Dalton, who failed to win over Bond aficionados with his seriousness and intensity. But if he’s as dashing and deadly as Brosnan, Craig will walk out of Casino Royale a household name.
Robert Downey Jr.
Movies in 2006: Game 6; The Shaggy Dog; A Scanner Darkly; Lucky You; Fur; A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints; Zodiac
Guess Downey’s taking one day at a time by maintaining a Will Ferrell-ish work pace. Yes, he’s walking The Shaggy Dog for a paycheck. But Fur, with Nicole Kidman as photographer Diane Arbus, and Zodiac could make fine companion pieces to Good Night, and Good Luck. OK, so we’ll probably be sick of Downey by Easter, but it’s good to see him back on his feet.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Movies in 2006: The Return; The Grudge 2; Southland Tales
Finally, Gellar takes a break from thwarting evil spirits. In Southland Tales, her porn star uses sex as a weapon to achieve mainstream acceptance. No, this isn’t another Boogie Nights, but the newest enigma from Donnie Darko’s Richard Kelly. And it’s Gellar’s best opportunity to put Buffy behind her. If she fails, she’ll try to dethrone Scream Queen Naomi Watts with The Grudge 2 and The Return.
Movies in 2006: X-Men 3; Flushed Away; Happy Feet; The Fountain; Scoop
Jackman’s the heart and soul of the X-Men franchise, which can survive the hiring of Rush Hour director Brett Ratner if he lets Wolverine go berserk. But Jackman’s wisely moving forward as though a Wolverine spinoff isn’t inevitable. The Fountain could be the coolest head trip of the year, and, with Scoop, Woody Allen should be the first director to take full advantage of Jackman’s comic flair.
Movies in 2006: The Pink Panther; Dreamgirls