Calling the Shots: Women Behind the Camera
D: Mary Harron; with Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon, Samantha Mathis, Chloë Sevigny.
Scandalous for its depiction of American life through the eyes of a serial killer, Bret Easton Ellis' controversial novel takes to the big screen. Long the fodder for trade rags because of Leo DiCaprio's would-be attachment to the production and its initial receipt of a NC-17 rating, Mary Harron's follow-up to I Shot Andy Warhol played to moderate fanfare at this year's Sundance Film Festival. (Apr. 14)
D: Sally Field; with Minnie Driver, Joey Lauren Adams, Brent Briscoe, Daniel Dehring, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Ali Landry.
Veteran screen star Field makes her feature film directorial debut with this bittersweet comedy which tells the story of Mona Hibbard (Driver), a fiercely determined young woman hell-bent on winning the U.S. crown for the Miss American Miss contest despite the fact that she continuously loses local beauty pageants one after the other. (TBA)
D: Amy Heckerling; with Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari, Greg Kinnear.
The writer-director of Clueless and Fast Times at Ridgemont High returns with this college-age picture about a nerdy NYU student (Biggs of American Pie) who meets a fellow student (Suvari of American Beauty), who is being jerked around by her boyfriend professor (Kinnear). It's the movie that proves that even losers can get lucky. (May 19)
LOVE AND BASKETBALL
D: Gina Prince-Bythewood; with Omar Epps, Sanaa Lathan, Alfre Woodard, Dennis Haysbert, Debbi Morgan, Kyla Pratt.
Producer Spike Lee sits courtside for another basketball drama, this time starring Epps and Lathan as childhood adversaries and gifted ball players who share a common love for the game -- and each other. With a story that's told in four quarters, the film follows the successes of the couple through high school, college, and the pros. Prince-Bythewood makes her directorial debut. (Apr. 21)
THE VIRGIN SUICIDES
D: Sofia Coppola; with Danny DeVito, Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, Chelse Swain, Kathleen Turner, James Woods, AJ Cook.
Based on Jeffrey Eugenides' acclaimed novel, The Virgin Suicides is at once humorous and repressive. When one of five beautiful sisters in a typical suburban household plummets to her death, her parents (Woods and Turner) resolve to lock their remaining children away from the world, causing would-be suitors to raise binoculars to glimpse a view from afar. Francis Ford Coppola's daughter Sofia makes her directorial debut. (May 5)
See also Agnes Browne, Committed, In Crowd, Set Me Free, 28 Days, Woman on Top