Fall Film Previews
Fri., Sept. 11, 1998
AYN RAND: A SENSE OF LIFE
D: Michael Paxton.
Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary recounts the life of writer Ayn Rand and the history of her philosophy of objectivism. (Sept. 18)
THE BEST MAN
D: Pupi Avati; with Diego Abantantuono, Ines Sastre.
An arranged marriage is scuttled on the day it is to take place when the intended bride decides to follow her heart and cast her fate with that of the best man. The Italian film is set on the last day of the 19th century in a small town in northern Italy. (Sept. 11)
BILLY'S HOLLYWOOD SCREEN KISS
D: Tommy O'Haver; with Sean P. Hayes, Brad Rowe, Richard Ganoung, Meredith Scott Lynn, Paul Bartel.
Does the reality of modern romance have a chance when compared against the romantic imagery of the Hollywood ideal? This Sundance hit follows a young photographer who thinks he has found the love of his life. The only problem is that he's not sure if his amour is gay or straight. (Sept. 11)
D: Bigas Luna; with Romane Bohringer, Oliver Martinez, Aitana Sanchez Gijon, Didier Bezace, Aldo Maccione.
The title has been abbreviated from The Chambermaid on the Titanic, though this French film has little to do with the Titanic blockbuster and everything to do with the nature of overblown storytelling. The film examines the heart of storytelling, its deceptions, lies, and our own complicity. A masterful satirist, director Luna is a good candidate for the task. (Sept. 25)
DIGGING TO CHINA
D: Timothy Hutton; with Kevin Bacon, Mary Stuart Masterson, Cathy Moriarty, Evan Rachel Wood.
Actor Hutton makes his directorial debut with this coming-of-age story of a young girl who longs to break away from her dreary rural Pennsylvania existence. Adventure arrives in the body of a 30-year-old retarded man whom she befriends. (Sept. 11)
FIRST LOVE, LAST RITES
D: Jesse Peretz; with Natasha Gregson Wagner, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert John Burke, Jeannetta Arnette.
The feature debut of director Jesse Peretz, noted video director and former bassist for the Lemonheads, is based on a short story by British writer Ian McEwan. It takes place over the course of one summer on the Louisiana bayou and tells the story of two young lovers in their first grown-up relationship. (Sept. 11)
D: Michael Haneke; with Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Muhe, Frank Giering, Arno Frisch.
Described as a German Cape Fear, this psychological thriller watches as a family's idyllic vacation is taken over by a couple of brutal psychopaths. The filmmaker uses numerous distancing tactics and camera ploys to explore the effects of screen violence. (Sept. 18)
GENERAL CHAOS UNCENSORED ANIMATION
Manga Entertainment has gathered together a collection of cutting-edge animated shorts for its first annual showcase. (Sept. 25)
LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX
D: Troy Beyer; with Beyer, Randi Ingerman, Paget Brewster.
Mating and dating in the Nineties is looked at here from a female perspective. A budding talk show host sets out to interview women on the street about all things sexual as a pitch for a new talk show. (Sept. 11)
D: Ted Demme; with Denis Leary, Jason Barry, Lenny Clarke, Ian Hart, John Diehl, Noah Emmerich, Famke Janssen, Billy Crudup, Martin Sheen, Jeanne Tripplehorn.
Leary and his buddies run a Robin Hoodish theft ring within the close-knit confines of Boston's Irish community ... that is, until their Irish tempers screw everything up. Before settling on the title Monument Ave., the movie also traveled the festival circuit under the various titles Snitch and Noose. (Sept./Oct. TBD)
THE NIGHTS OF CABIRIA
D: Federico Fellini; with Guilietta Masina, Francois Perier.
Italian master Federico Fellini filmed this one in 1957 with his wife and frequent collaborator Guillietta Masina starring as a prostitute whose guileless dreams are met with a flood of harsh reality. In America, it won the best foreign film Oscar and went on to inspire the stage musical and film, Sweet Charity. (Sept. 25)
ONE TRUE THING
D: Carl Franklin; with Meryl Streep, Renee Zellweger, William Hurt, Nicky Katt, Tom Everett Scott.
This screen adaptation of Anna Quindlen's bestseller tells the story of a Manhattan magazine journalist whose father asks her to return home to care for her mother who has been diagnosed with cancer. This drama about family reconciliation marks a change of pace for director Franklin, whose crime thriller One False Move and genre study Devil in a Blue Dress seem worlds away from One True Thing's family entanglements. (Sept. 18)
D: John Waters; with Edward Furlong, Martha Plimpton, Christina Ricci, Brendan Sexton III, Lili Taylor, Mary Kay Place, Mink Stole, Bess Armstrong, Patricia Hearst.
Waters, the original peckerhead of them all, enlists a cast of today's hottest young stars (they reportedly all survived the affair) to tell the tale of a goofy 18-year-old sandwich maker who likes to take grainy, out-of-focus pictures of his family. It's just a little happy hobby until a savvy New York art dealer makes Pecker his next big discovery. (Sept. 25)
D: David Veloz; with Ben Stiller, Elizabeth Hurley, Maria Bello, Janeane Garofalo.
If you wrote scripts for Alf you might turn to heroin too. The movie is based on the autobiographical memoirs of TV writer Jerry Stahl and his time in Hollywood's back lots and back alleys. After a triumphant year as one of our top comic actors, Ben Stiller sees if he has what it takes for drama. (Sept. 25)
D: John Frankenheimer; with Robert De Niro, Stellan Skarsgård, Jean Reno, Jonathan Pryce, Sean Bean, Natascha McElhone.
An impressive international cast has been rounded up by John Frankenheimer to play a group of former intelligence agents turned mercenaries who've been assembled in Paris to recover a mysterious briefcase. The name of David Mamet, who did a re-write on this action-adventure script, will appear as a pseudonymous credit following a bitter Writers Guild dispute. (Sept. 25)
D: John Dahl; with Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Turturro, Gretchen Mol, John Malkovich, Martin Landau, Famke Janssen.
After taking a major stumble with Unforgettable, director Dahl will try to erase our collective memory with his take on New York's high-stakes underground poker world. Having Damon of the killer watt smile as his ace-up-the-sleeve should only help. (Sept. 11)
D: Brett Ratner; with Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Tzi Ma, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Rolston.
This action-comedy pairs kinetic wonder Jackie Chan with funny guy Chris Tucker, here playing a rogue LAPD officer who keeps tabs on Chan's Hong Kong police detective, who has come to America to solve a kidnapping and avert an international crisis. (Sept. 18)
D: Radley Metzger; with Claire Wilber, Gerald Grant, Lynn Lowry, Calvin Culver.
Stylish soft-core director-producer Radley Metzger made this film in 1974. Score is a bisexual romp that begins when one married couple bets which one of them can be first to seduce a young innocent. (Sept. 25)
D: Susanna Styron; with Harvey Keitel, Andie MacDowell, John Franklin Sawyer, Scott Terra.
Based on a short story by William Styron, Shadrach is a coming-of-age tale about a 10-year-old boy in 1935 Virginia. Life, death, slavery, and financial circumstances are examined in the context of the story about the 99-year-old slave named Shadrach who has returned to his old plantation home to be buried. (Sept. 23)
SHOPPING FOR FANGS
D: Quentin Lee and Justin Lee; with Radmar Jao, Jeanne Chin, Clint Jung, Lela Lee, John Cho.
This Asian-American dark comedy of pop culture features a frigid wife, an acerbic waitress, and a werewolf disguised as a payroll clerk, while referencing the best of America's recent crop of independent filmmakers. (Sept. 18)
D: Mark Steven Johnson; with Joseph Mazzello, Oliver Platt, David Strathairn, Ian Michael Smith, Dana Ivey, Ashley Judd, Jan Hooks.
This admittedly loose adaptation of John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany tells the tale of a baby born so small the doctors predict he won't survive the night. They go on predicting while he outlasts each prediction to grow into a boy beset with dwarfism but secure in his faith that God has a plan for him and made him small for a reason. (Sept. 11)
D: Lance Mungia; with Jeffrey Falcon, Justin McGuire.
A place called Lost Vegas is the center of the universe in a post-apocalyptic time in which the Russians have won, Elvis is king, Death plays a guitar, and all that's left is a battle of the bands to take Elvis' place. Mungia's debut film is chock-full of loving homages and knowing send-ups of everything from El Mariachi and Mad Maxto Shogun Assassin and The Buddy Holly Story. (Sept. 18)
D: Jamie Blanks; with Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid.
This horror thriller takes place on a college campus where a series of urban legends become the basis for a run of strange deaths. I Know What You Did This Semester, perhaps? (Sept. 25)
[ September | October | November ]
D: Evan Dunsky; with Stanley Tucci, David Arquette, Kate Capshaw, Mary McCormack.
Middle America's obsession with home security is the object of satire in this story of a house-alarm salesman who discovers his boss may be robbing their customers blind. (Oct./Nov. TBD)
D: Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson; with the voices of Woody Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Jane Curtin, Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Christopher Walken.
Woody Allen lends his voice to a worker ant who unwittingly falls in love with the colony's Princess, and whose individuality is out of place in the unyielding caste system conformity of the ant colony. This film from DreamWorks is the studio's first foray into computer animation and features a bucketful of star-powered voices, upping the post-Toy Story ante and opening first in the race between the season's two animated insect movies. (Oct. 2)
D: Bryan Singer; with Ian McKellen, Brad Renfro, David Schwimmer, Bruce Davison, Elias Koteas, Joe Morton, Jan Triska.
Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) directs this psychological thriller based on the Stephen King novella of the same name. When a 16-year-old high school student discovers that a Nazi war criminal is living in his neighborhood, the fascinated teen offers his silence in exchange for the old man's stories about the atrocities he committed in the concentration camps. (Oct. 23)
D: Agnes Merlot; with Valentini Cervi, Michel Serrault, Miki Manojlovic.
This biographical film tells the life story of Artemesia Gentileschi, the daughter of a famous artist and the first female painter to break into the early 17th-century Italian world despite not being allowed to attend classes, paint nudes, or study anatomy. (Fall TBD)
D: Eduardo Mignogna; with Norma Aleandro, Federico Luppi.
When her brother comes for a visit, a middle-aged Jewish woman in Buenos Aires places a personal ad to find a pretend boyfriend. The ad is answered by Federico Luppi (Men With Guns), who is handsome, intelligent, charming, but definitely not Jewish. (Oct. 30)
D: Jonathan Demme; with Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, Kimberly Elise, Beah Richardson, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Albert Hall.
Oprah brings her book club to the screen with this adaptation (by Richard LaGravenese) of Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. She enlisted Jonathan Demme (Philadelphia, The Silence of the Lambs) to direct the gritty tale set in post-Civil War Ohio in which a former slave is haunted by her own, pre-war ghosts of the daughter she "spared" from life on the plantation. (Oct. 16)
BRIDE OF CHUCKY
D: Ronny Yu; with Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Katherine Heigl, Nick Stabile, John Ritter, Alexis Arquette, Kathy Najimy.
Number four in the Child's Play oeuvre finds Chucky reunited with his human sweetheart and Hong Kong director Yu driving the doll bus on its murder-and-mayhem-themed road tour. (Oct. 16)
D: David Dobkin; with Joaquin Phoenix, Vince Vaughn, Janeane Garofalo, Georgina Cates, Scott Wilson.
Summer in Mercer, Montana finds Clay Bidwell unwittingly falling into the trap of a serial killer who proceeds to frame him for his own death. Soon Clay's in over his head with mind games, an FBI agent (Garofalo), and a psycho in this dark comedy-thriller that stars the two leading men from this summer's Return to Paradise. (Oct. 2)
D: Arthur Marks; with Alex Rocco, Hari Rhodes, Vonetta McGee, Ella Edwards, Scatman Crothers, Rudy Challenger.
Quentin Tarantino's Rolling Thunder label has dusted off this little-known 1972 blaxploitation film by Arthur Marks (Friday Foster). Two police officers -- one black and one white -- go after the bad guys amidst the racial unrest and crime of 1970s Detroit. (Oct. TBD)
D: Alexander Payne; with Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Thora Birch, Chris Klein.
For his sophomore effort Citizen Ruth director Alexander Payne gives us this high school hijinksstory. (Oct. 30)
D: William Nicholson; with Sophie Marceau, Stephen Dillane, Kevin Anderson, Joss Ackland.
A bodice-ripper with contemporary concerns, Firelight tells the story of a woman who, in 1838, makes a mercenary arrangement to bear a man's child then shows up years later to be the child's governess. (Fall TBD)
D: Tony Gatlif; with Romain Duris, Isidor Serban, Rona Hartner, Ovidiu Balan.
Filmmaker Tony Gatlif has made a couple of documentaries, Latcho Drom and Mondo, that explore his Gypsy heritage; Gadjo Dilo is a fictional work which uses the character of a musicologist as our eyes and ears on this same Romanian milieu. (Oct. 2)
GODS AND MONSTERS
D: Bill Condon; with Ian McKellan, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave, Lolita Davidovich.
The Hollywood elite rub elbows with the working class in this speculative recreation of the final days leading up to the murder of real-life director James Whale (Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man). Fraser plays a young drifter who becomes the gardener, and much much more, of the legendary gay filmmaker. (Oct/Nov TBD)
D: Todd Solondz; with Jane Adams, Dylan Baker, Lara Flynn Boyle, Ben Gazzara, Jared Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jon Lovitz, Marla Maples, Cynthia Stevenson, Elizabeth Ashley, Louise Lasser, Camryn Manheim.
Welcome to the Dollhouse director Todd Solondz follows up that startling film with something even more arresting and controversial (its original distributor, October Films, dropped it before release). The film tells the story of three sisters and their love lives and touches on such subjects as incest, pederasty, and mass murder -- albeit through the warped vision of the director. (Oct. 23)
D: Stephen Herek; with Eddie Murphy, Jeff Goldblum, Kelly Preston, Robert Loggia, Jon Cryer.
When ratings on his cable home shopping network slump, network director Goldblum hires religious guru Murphy to perform televangelical miracles and make shopping by television the religious experience it was always meant to be. He succeeds to nationwide acclaim. Herek helmed, among others, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure; screenwriter Tom Schulman penned What About Bob. (Oct. 9)
D: Dean Parisot; with Drew Barrymore, Catherine O'Hara, Luke Wilson, Jake Busey, Shelley Duvall.
Drew Barrymore plays a woman who works at the local burger drive-thru and is in love with a married man and his grown son. When the older man dies under mysterious circumstances, it all ties in to some curious black helicopter signals and other nefarious plots. It's a romantic comedy, nevertheless, written by X-Files producer Vince Gilligan and filmed in the Austin area. (Oct. 23)
I MARRIED A STRANGE PERSON
D: Bill Plympton; with the voices of Charis Michelson, Tom Larson, Richard Spore, Toni Rossi.
Animator extraordinaire Bill Plympton hand-drew every frame of this feature-length adult cartoon about a newlywed couple on their honeymoon night. (Oct. 16)
D: Stanley Tucci; with Tucci, Oliver Platt, Isabella Rossellini, Campbell Scott, Steve Buscemi, Tony Shalhoub, Lili Taylor, Billy Connnolly, Hope Davis.
Tucci follows up his arthouse smash Big Night (and reunites most of that film's cast) with this Depression-era tale of two down-and-out theatre actors obsessed with and starving for that perfect role. (Oct. 2)
D: Erik Skjoldjaerg; with Stellan Skarsgård, Sverre Anker Ousdal, Bjorn Floberg.
This import from Norway hails itself as "reverse film noir," shot where the sun never sets in the summer. Two criminal investigators travel to a remote Arctic village to solve the murder of a young girl. Hold on a minute ... when did Norwegians start making these atmospheric, psychological thrillers? (Oct. TBD)
JOHN CARPENTER'S VAMPIRES
D: John Carpenter; with James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, Maximilian Schell, Tim Guinee.
Based on the John Steakley novel VampireS, this latest Carpenter outing follows a group of mercenaries sent by the Vatican to destroy a vampire nest in rural New Mexico. Amazingly, this is the first career confrontation with vampires for horror meister John Carpenter. (Oct. 30)
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL
D: Roberto Benigni; with Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi.
Benigni, the Italian Buster Keaton, makes a play for the Chaplinesque as a man of child-like dreams who wants to open a bookstore in fascist Italy during WWII. This Holocaust comedy was the winner of the prestigious Grand Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival. (Oct. TBD)
LIKE IT IS
D: Paul Oremland; with Steve Bell, Ian Rose, Roger Daltrey, Dani Behr.
Every Which Way But Loose meets Fassbinder in this tale of a professional bare-knuckle fighter from blue-collar London whose homosexuality is awakened by an upper-class lad from Soho. Roger Daltrey co-stars as a music executive with a taste for young flesh. (Fall TBD)
D: Adrian Lyne; with Jeremy Irons, Dominique Swain, Melanie Griffith, Frank Langella.
After struggling for the longest time to find a distributor, this second film version of Vladimir Nabokov's controversial and groundbreaking novel finally was picked up by the Showtime television network and is now making its way into theatres. Somehow, the potentially salacious material seems altogether appropriate for the director of such films as 91*2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction, and Flashdance, but most of the advance word has been quite positive. (Oct. 16)
A MERRY WAR
D: Robert Bierman; with Richard E. Grant, Helena Bonham Carter, Jim Carter, Harriet Walker.
Based on George Orwell's 1936 novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying, this film tells the story of an unconventional relationship between an eccentric poet and his devoted girlfriend. TV director Bierman's other feature film is the oddball Vampire's Kiss. (Fall TBD)
D: Iara Lee.
The director of Synthetic Pleasures is back with this new documentary which again probes the fringes of electronic frontier. This time out Lee points her camera at raves and the electronic music movement. (Oct. 9)
A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY
D: John Fortenberry; with Will Ferrell, Chris Katten, Dan Hedaya, Molly Shannon, Richard Grieco.
The SNL skit about the two head-bobbing, party-guy brothers who would be kings of the L.A. nightclub scene moves to the big screen. Just to round out the feature-length running time, a plot is introduced which involves two supermodels who rip off all of the Butabi brothers' moolah -- a small haul, to say the least. (Oct. 2)
D: Robert Byington; with Jason Andrews, Carmen Nogales, Damian Young.
Olympia is an idiosyncratic story about a Mexican soap opera actress who crosses the river to pursue her dream of becoming an Olympic javelin thrower and the loser who experiences a transformation when he becomes her coach. The movie was filmed in Texas and earned the coveted closing-night slot at this year's Slamdance Film Festival. (Oct. 16)
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK
D: Peter Weir; with Rachel Roberts, Dominic Guard, Helen Morse, Jacki Weaver, Vivean Gray.
One sunny day in 1901 Australia, three schoolgirls mysteriously vanish during the course of a class outing. The moody, atmospheric work from 1975 is one of the attention-getting early films by The Truman Show director Peter Weir. (Oct. 2)
D: Gary Ross; with Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy, Joan Allen, J.T. Walsh, Don Knotts.
Siblings Maguire and Witherspoon find themselves mysteriously remote-controlled out of the present day and into the black-and-white world of their favorite Fifties family sitcom. In this high-concept movie, an entire fictional town gets to experience life as real-live people -- and in color. It's a television-age fairy tale, with Don Knotts as the magic TV repairman who gives the kids the remote control key to fairyland. (Oct. 23)
D: Griffin Dunne; with Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Dianne Wiest, Stockard Channing, Goran Visnjic, Aidan Quinn.
Two young sisters, raised in the art of black magic by their hocus pocus aunts, are happy to be witches until the day that one of them falls for a man. And there's the rub: Witches are forbidden true love. The story is based on the novel by Alice Hoffman. (Oct. 9)
PREACHING TO THE PERVERTED
D: Stuart Urban; with Guinevere Turner, Christien Anholt, Tom Bell, Julie Graham, Georgina Hale, Julian Wadham.
Set in the fetish club scene, Preaching to the Perverted is a controversial, offbeat British film about sex rebels versus moral crusaders. "Immerse in the perverse," says the film's tagline. (Oct. 9)
D: Sam Raimi; with Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget Fonda.
A promising cast lends its talents to this new film by director Raimi which is based on Scott Smith's dark novel about a group of people whose quiet rural lives and relationships are deeply twisted by greed and suspicion when three of them find $4 million in the wreck of a small airplane. As the authorities circle, the simple plan -- to hold on to the money and just avoid discovery -- begins to devolve as fear and violence take their toll. Smith wrote the screenplay based on his own novel.
D: Paul Anderson; with Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Gary Busey, Michael Chiklis.
In a futuristic Darwinian galaxy, men are raised as animalistic warriors whose only dictum in life is to kill or be killed. Then one of them finds himself on a planet of peace-loving pioneers. This routine-sounding adventure is sure to have some sharp angles provided by talented scriptwriter David Webb Peoples (Unforgiven). (Oct. 23)
A SOLDIER'S DAUGHTER NEVER CRIES
D: James Ivory; with Kris Kristofferson, Barbara Hershey, Leelee Sobieski.
The Merchant/Ivory team has, for once, abandoned the carriages and corsets with this tale of an American WWII vet-turned-expatriate writer in 1960s Paris who is haunted by his war experiences. It's based on the personal recollections of the daughter of novelist James Jones (From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line).
D: Sarah Kernochan; with Kirsten Dunst, Gaby Hoffman, Lynn Redgrave, Heather Matarazzo, Rachael Leigh Cook, Monica Keena, Tom Guiry.
Using some of the hottest young stars of the moment, Strike tells the story of students at an exclusive girls' school in 1963 who oppose the administration's plan to go co-ed; writer-director Sarah Kernochan's previous film credits incongruously include screenplay credits for 91*2 Weeks and an Oscar for her co-direction of the documentary Marjoe. (Fall TBD)
TASTE OF CHERRY
D: Abbas Kiarostami; with Homayoun Ershadi, Abdolhossein Bagheri, Afshin Bakhtiari.
A middle-aged man, weary of life, decides to end it all and seeks to find someone who will either bury him if he succeeds or rescue him if he fails. Iranian master director Abbas Kiarostami's parable about life's possibilities shared the top prize at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. (Oct. 16)
TOUCH OF EVIL
D: Orson Welles; with Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Akim Tamiroff, Joanna Moore, Dennis Weaver, Mercedes McCambridge, Keenan Wynn.
Welles' studio-hacked masterpiece of film noir has been re-edited per his original vision. It seems the Great One left behind a detailed 58-page memo with precise instructions on how to do it. Control freak. (Oct. 16)
D: Manuel Poirier; with Sergi Lopez, Sacha Bourdo, Elisabeth Vitali, Marie Matheron.
During a road trip through Brittany, two French-speaking foreigners develop an unlikely and offbeat friendship. (Oct. 16)
WHAT DREAMS MAY COME
D: Vincent Ward; with Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Annabella Sciorra, Max von Sydow.
Films by Vincent Ward (Map of the Human Heart) come far and few between, but each is as sublimely poetic as anything you've seen before. His latest stars Williams as a man who descends (literally) into the depths of hell to find the woman he loves. (Oct. 2)
D: Robert Towne; with Billy Crudup, Donald Sutherland.
Without Limits is the second bio-pic to come our way in as many years about Steve Prefontaine, the tragic long-distance runner who styled himself as a rock star. This one at least has the better pedigree, directed and scripted by the legendary Robert Towne (Personal Best,Chinatown). (Oct. 9)
[ September | October | November ]
AMERICAN HISTORY X
D: Tony Kaye; with Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Fairuza Balk, Beverly D'Angelo, Avery Brooks.
Norton plays an ex-skinhead trying to keep his brother from drowning in the same violent hate and prejudice that once consumed him. This is British commercial director and self-appointed hype artist Tony Kaye's first feature film, and the story of the war between the director's cut and the studio's cut has been publicly waged in a series of weird full-page ads in the trades which quote everyone from John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln to Dr. Seuss and John Lennon. The director currently wants to be credited as Humpty Dumpty. (Nov. 20)
AT FIRST SIGHT
D: Irwin Winkler; with Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino, Kelly McGillis, Nathan Lane, Steven Weber.
A blind-from-birth masseur (Val Kilmer) undergoes experimental surgery that will allow him to see the world as his architect love interest (Mira Sorvino) sees it. The story is based on an Oliver Sacks (Awakenings) case study. (Nov. 20)
BABE: PIG IN THE CITY
D: George Miller; with James Cromwell, Magda Szubanski, Mickey Rooney.
The good pig hoofs it to a faraway city where he encounters a folklorist's heaven of animal friends and helps in steady-hearted Babe-ish fashion to heal some of the ills of the bad old world. Farmer and Mrs. Hoggett are back, too. (Nov. 25)
D: Hype Williams; with Nas, DMX, Method Man.
This plot-twisting statement on urban youth culture details the relationship of two New York City childhood friends with different motives. One wants to provide for and protect his family and the other is on a desperate quest for money, power, and respect. (Nov. 4)
THE BIG CHILL
D: Lawrence Kasdan; with Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly, JoBeth Williams.
It's been dusted off for a 15th anniversary re-release and sure to make old radicals more wistful than ever about the compromises they've made with life. It should also sell a bunch more copies of its groovy Motown soundtrack. (Nov. 6)
BLOOD, GUTS, BULLETS, & OCTANE
D: Joe Carnahan; with Carnahan, Dan Leis, Ken Rudolph, Dan Harlan.
This bona fide no-budget feature, which has been garnering a lot of festival attention, follows the travails of two struggling used-car salesmen who suddenly find themselves in possession of a lemon that every crook, thief, and gangster in the land will kill for. (Nov TBD)
A BUG'S LIFE
D: John Lasseter; with Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kevin Spacey, David Hyde Pierce, Denis Leary, Madeline Kahn, John Ratzenberger, Bonnie Hunt, Phyllis Diller, Richard Kind, Roddy McDowall, Edie McClurg, Alex Rocco.
Weighing in as the second ant movie contender a month after DreamWork's Antz is the Pixar computer animation team's story of a misfit ant (Foley) who hires a down-on-their-luck flea circus to battle the evil grasshopper threatening his colony. Ladybug Leary, walking-stick bug Pierce, and black widow Hunt are all ready to do battle. Be ready for Pixar to out-do their last feature, Toy Story. (Nov. 20)
D: Thomas Vinterberg; with Ulrich Thomsen, Henning Moritizen, Thomas Bo Larsen.
Family secrets tumble from the closets during a gathering for the family patriarch's 60th birthday in this Cannes festival favorite by one of Lars von Triers' (Breaking the Waves) Danish compatriots. (Nov. TBD)
D: Woody Allen; with Kenneth Branagh, Judy Davis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Melanie Griffith, Famke Janssen, Joe Mantegna, Gretchen Mol, Winona Ryder, Charlize Theron.
Allen puts together his oddest cast in years (Branagh?!?) for his investigation of the phenomenon of celebrity. And while the plot is being kept secret, as usual for an Allen film, it is bound to be one of his more personal efforts. Who else knows more about the (dis)advantages of celebrity? (Nov. TBD)
D: Walter Salles; with Fernanda Montenegro, Marilia Pera, Vinicius De Olveira.
This simple and intimate Brazilian film about an orphaned and homeless boy who is reluctantly befriended by a lonely and cynical woman has become a festival favorite (Central Station won the best film and best actress awards at Berlin) and an international charmer. (Nov. TBD)
D: John McNaughton; with George Condo, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg.
The life and art of New York artist George Condo, and the creative process in general, are the subjects of this documentary by McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer). Also featured are the last recorded interviews of late Beat icons Burroughs and Ginsberg. (Nov. TBD)
D: Bennet Miller.
This documentary offers a journey through New York City via the eyes of Timothy "Speed" Levitch, a double-decker tour bus guide. A film festival hit due to the wacky nature of the protagonist and his alternately tender and tempestuous love affair with the city. (Nov. 25)
D: Vincenzo Natali; with Nicole deBoer, Nicky Guadagni, David Hewlett, Andrew Miller, Wayne Robson, Maurice Dean Wint.
Involuntary players in a sick game are plummeted into a horrifyingly demented maze and must tap into their deepest recesses to escape. It's an intellectual science fiction thriller that has no exit. (Fall TBD)
DANCING AT LUGHNASA
D: Pat O'Connor; with Meryl Streep, Brid Brennan, Catherine McCormack, Sophie Thompson, Kathy Burke, Michael Gambon.
Based on Brian Friel's Tony Award-winning play, Dancing at Lughnasa tells the story of the five sisters of the Mundy family in Donnegal, Ireland during the summer of 1936 as Europe is on the brink of war. Director O'Connor is best known for his resonant Circle of Friends and Kathy Burke came to worldwide attention with her turn in Gary Oldman's Nil by Mouth. Streep does a new accent. (Nov. TBD)
D: Shohei Imamura; with Koji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu, Fujio Tsuneta.
Shohei Imamura, one of Japan's top directors, shared the top prize (with Iran's Taste of Cherry) at Cannes last year for this movie about a murderer's redemption. This is Imamura's first film since 1987's Black Rain. (Nov. 20)
D: Shekhar Kapur; with Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eddleston, Richard Attenborough, Fanny Ardant, John Gielgud.
Here comes the latest cinematic exploration by the British into their favorite subject: their royalty. This one isa bio of Elizabeth Tudor, her escape from Bloody Mary, andher reign as the legendary Queen Elizabeth I. It stars Oscar and Lucinda's Cate Blanchett and Shine's Geoffrey Rush, along with a distinguished international cast. The director last filmed the Indian action-bio, Bandit Queen. (Nov. 6)
ENEMY OF THE STATE
D: Tony Scott; with Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Regina King, Jason Lee, Gabriel Byrne, Seth Green.
When he's framed for murder by a corrupt intelligence officer, an attorney (Smith) finds his career and his home life destroyed as he is plunged into a labyrinth of assassins, government agents, and electronic paranoia galore. His only hope of finding a clear way lies with a mysterious ex-spy played by Gene Hackman. As he got NASA in on Armageddon, producer Bruckheimer got the NSA to lend a listening device for Enemy. (Nov. 25)
ESMERELDA COMES BY NIGHT
D: Jaime Humberto Hermosillo; with Maria Rojo.
Mexican director Hermosillo's latest import is a courtroom satire about a nurse who is happily married ... to fivehusbands. About to wed hombre number six, she is charged with bigamy and forced to reveal her spellbinding charm in all its glory in order to set herself free. (Nov. TBD)
HARD CORE LOGO
D: Bruce McDonald; with Hugh Dillon, Callum Keith Rennie, Bernie Coulson, John Pyper-Ferguson, Julian Richings.
A legendary Vancouver punk band gets back together for a successful benefit concert, then go on a reunion tour through Western Canada joined by a "documentary" film crew. (Nov. TBD)
I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
D: Arlene Sanford; with Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jessica Biel, Adam La Vorgna, Gary Cole.
Prep-school brat Thomas finds himself in the unenviable, if life-learning, position of being stuck out in the California desert a couple of days before the Yuletide, with a Santa beard glued to his face and a Christmas-Eve-be-in-New-York-at-6pm-or-you-forfeit-the-vintage-Porsche-dear-old-dad-has-promised-you deadline. (Nov. 6)
I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER
D: Danny Cannon; with Jennifer Love Hewitt, Brandy, Freddie Prinze Jr., Mekhi Phifer, Muse Watson, Bill Cobbs, Jennifer Esposito, Matthew Settle.
Julie James (Hewitt) was apparently just having a bad dream at the end of the first movie because she's back for the sequel in which, less trusting and still guilt-ridden, she heads off to the Bahamas on an all-expense-paid trip won by her best friend Karla. Of course, the moment Julie and her college chums hit the beach, the murders begin. (Nov. 20)
THE LAST EMPEROR
D: Bernardo Bertolucci; with John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole.
Declared by many to be the best film of the Eighties, The Last Emperor is certainly one of the decade's most stunningly impressive. The life story of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, takes us through a good part of the century's history. What lingers most clearly is the spectacle, captured most brilliantly by Vittorio Storaro's opulent camerawork. (Nov. 25)
LIVING OUT LOUD
D: Richard LaGravenese; with Danny DeVito, Holly Hunter, Queen Latifah.
Inspired by two Chekhov short stories, writer-director LaGravenese's story is appropriately Chekhovian: Two disparate people connect during an odd moment in the midst of everyday circumstances and proceed to get to know one another. Acclaimed writer LaGravenese (The Fisher King, The Bridges of Madison County) makes his directing debut. (Nov. 6)
LOVE IS THE DEVIL
D: John Maybury; with Tilda Swinton, Derek Jacobi.
The destructive relationship between controversial British painter Francis Bacon and his muse, George Dyer, is the subject of this elaborative artist's biography. It explores the decadent underworld of 1960s Soho, Bacon's appetite for rough trade, and Dyer's alcoholic desperation and uses film stylistics that equal the daring techniques used by the story's subject. (Fall TBD)
MEET JOE BLACK
D: Martin Brest; with Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Claire Forlani, Jake Weber, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeffrey Tambor.
Inspired by the 1934 Frederic March classic Death Takes a Holiday, the Grim Reaper takes another breather, this time in the body of a recently deceased young man who, luckily, looks just like Brad Pitt. This story about Death taking human form should fly high given the proven popularity of the recent spate of angels-among-us movies. (Nov. 13)
D: Peter Chelsom; with Sharon Stone, Gena Rowlands, Harry Dean Stanton, Gillian Anderson, Kieran Culkin, Elden Hensen.
Two 13-year-old social and physical rejects -- one an oversized pea brain and the other a pea-sized Einstein -- join forces and set out on a mighty quest for greatness and the common good. These two young boys have an impressive supporting cast of adults and the sure direction of Funny Bones' Peter Chelsom. (Nov. 13)
D: Trey Parker; with Parker, Dian Bacher.
South Park co-creator Parker takes a break from those animated foul-mouthed children of hell with this raunchy live-action comedy. He stars as Joe Young, a pious but hunky Mormon who is raising money for his upcoming nuptials by moonlighting in the adult filmmaking industry as Orgazmo, the superhero of sex. (Nov. TBD)
THE RUGRATS MOVIE
D: Norton Virgien and Igor Kovalyov.
Nickelodeon's award-winning cable animation series leaps to larger-than-rugrat size in a story of birth, sibling rivalry, wacky inventions, getting lost in the woods, and scary weird stuff, with lessons about friendship and family along the way. The soundtrack features tunes by adult faves Jakob Dylan, Beck, Lisa Loeb, and Iggy Pop. (Nov. 20)
THE SALTMEN OF TIBET
D: Ulrike Koch.
The day-to-day rituals of the Tibetan nomadic community is recorded in this German documentary that follows a yak caravan to the holy salt lakes of northern Tibet. (Nov. 13)
D: Peter Antonijevic; with Dennis Quaid, Nastassja Kinski, Stellan Skarsgård.
Finally, a film about the Bosnian civil war made by a Serbian. Quaid plays an American mercenary fighting on the Serbian side of the conflict whose life and attitudes change when he is forced to save an orphaned newborn baby. (Nov. TBD)
D: Raul Ruiz; with Anne Parrillaud, William Baldwin.
Daring narrative experimentation is cult auteur Raul Ruiz's forte and this new murder mystery should be no different. A wealthy young heiress on an island honeymoon and assassin for hire seem only to exist in each other's dreams. Who's zooming who? (Nov. TBD)
D: Edward Zwick; with Denzel Washington, Annette Benning, Bruce Willis, Tony Shalhoub.
The usually dependable Edward Zwick (Courage Under Fire, Glory) helms this political thriller in which the president of the United States is forced to declare a state of emergency due to multiple terrorist bombings. The script was co-written by the rigorously thoughtful Lawrence Wright, yet early test screenings have been generating a lot of flak over perceived Arab slights. (Nov. 6)
D: Marc Levin; with Saul Williams, Sonja Sohn, Bonz Malone, Beau Sia.
This year's Sundance Grand Jury prize winner explores the world of "slamming" -- a combination of poetry and rap that has become a national phenomenon. A young "slammer," finding himself in jail on a petty drug charge, uses his gift of gab against the system. (Nov. TBD)
TALK OF ANGELS
D: Nick Hamm; with Polly Walker, Vincent Perez, Franco Nero, Frances McDormand.
A young Irish girl working as a governess in Spain on the eve of the civil war finds herself enveloped in politics and forbidden love.
D: Todd Haynes; with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale, Toni Colette, Eddie Izzard.
This latest entry from one of America's most socio-politically acute filmmakers, Todd Haynes (Safe), follows the decadence-laced rise and fall of London's glam rock scene in the early 1970s. It was awarded the "Best Artistic Contribution" prize at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. (Nov. 6)
VERY BAD THINGS
D: Peter Berg; with Christian Slater, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Stern, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Jon Favreau, Jeremy Piven, Leland Orser.
Peter Berg (Chicago Hope's Dr. Billy Kronk) turns writer-director in this dark comedy about a Vegas bachelor party during which something goes terribly wrong and causes the attendees to emotionally pick away at themselves and each other. (Nov. 25)
WAKING NED DEVINE
D: Kirk Jones; with Ian Bannen, David Kelly, James Nesbitt, Susan Lynch, Eileen Dromey.
This latest entry from the Irish "New Wave" follows the mischievous exploits of two lads as they attempt to sniff out the unknown member of their tiny provincial village who has purchased the winning national lottery ticket. And don't you know nobody can keep a secret in a small town. (Nov. TBD)
D: Frank Coraci; with Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Jerry Reed, Henry Winkler.
With the director who made him a leading man in The Wedding Singer, Sandler stars as a not-so-swift waterboy for a Louisiana college football team. It also features Balk as the love interest and Bates as an overprotective Cajun mama. (Nov. 6)
WELCOME TO WOOP-WOOP
D: Stephan Elliott; with Johnathon Schaech, Susie Porter, Dee Smart, Rod Taylor, Rachel Griffiths, Barry Humphries.
From the director of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert comes this tale of an American who flees to the Australian outback and wakes up one morning to find himself married in the town of Woop-Woop. (Fall TBD)