The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Plot: It tells the story of Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) and his extraordinary 'Imaginarium,' a travelling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Dr. Parnassus is cursed with a dark secret. Long ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr. Nick (Tom Waits from 1992's Dracula), in which he won immortality. Many centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr. Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his first-born reached its 16th birthday he or she would become the property of Mr. Nick. Valentina (model Lily Cole) is now rapidly approaching this 'coming of age' milestone and Dr. Parnassus is desperate to protect her from her impending fate. Mr. Nick arrives to collect but, always keen to make a bet, renegotiates the wager. Now the winner of Valentina will be determined by whoever seduces the first five souls. Enlisting a series of wild, comical and compelling characters in his journey, Dr. Parnassus promises his daughter's hand in marriage to the man that helps him win. In this captivating, explosive and wonderfully imaginative race against time, Dr. Parnassus must fight to save his daughter in a never-ending landscape of surreal obstacles - and undo the mistakes of his past once and for all.
Pre-View Opinion: This film has pretty much been branded by Heath Ledger's untimely death during filming. The fact that Terry Gilliam (Twelve Monkeys) is writing and directing, and Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law play the three alternate incarnations of Ledger's chracter is only icing on the cake.
Post-View Opinion: It looks amazingly odd enough to keep you guessing. I dare say the film could compete with Tim Burton's latest creation. Who will watch it, besides Ledger fans and critics, however, is the real question? It doesn't really seem meant for children.
Release Date: October 16 (UK, no US release date yet)
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
Plot: A young boy named Darren Shan (17-year-old newcomer Chris Massoglia) meets a mysterious man at a freak show who turns out to be a Vampire (John C. Reilly). After a series of events Darren must leave his normal life and go on the road with the Cirque Du Freak and become a Vampire.
Pre-View Opinion: With that title and a picture of a bearded Salma Hayek, it certainly peaked my interest.
Post-View Opinion: So according to Wikipedia, Darren's best friend Steve (Josh Hutcherson from Journey to the Center of the Earth) wants to become a vampire, but the vamp deems him too evil, so he refuses. When he gets bitten by the circus' spider, Darren forfeits his humanity in order to save him. When Steve learns that Darren gets to be a vampire, he gets jealous and makes a blood oath to get his revenge. Meanwhile, Darren must fake his death and learn the ways of the cirque and of surviving as a vampire, meeting bizarre creatures (played by actors like Almost Famous' Patrick Fugit and Letters from Iwo Jima's Ken Watanabe) along the way. The trailer seemed more light-hearted and fun-filled than Wikipedia would suggest, so I'm sure it'll be a great option for children come Halloween.
Release Date: October 23