Chilly Scenes

A Winter Movie Preview
[Some Dates Guaranteed To Change]

God Said Ha! Making the most of her Miramax-via­Quentin Tarantino connection, Julia Sweeney gets a film of her stage monologue about cervical cancer onto the screen. December 11

The Ogre In Volker Schlondorff's dark fable, John Malkovich stars as a naive man who unwittingly becomes a key recruiter for the Hitler Youth. December 11

Star Trek: Insurrection The ninth Star Trek movie, with Patrick Stewart's Picard searching à la Kirk for the Spock-like Data. Those who will go, you know who you are. December 11

Brothers, keepers: Paxton and Thornton in A Simple Plan
Melissa Moseley
Brothers, keepers: Paxton and Thornton in A Simple Plan

Playing By Heart Mega-casted Love American-Style ensemble portmanteau about romance in L.A., with Sean Connery, Madeleine Stowe, Dennis Quaid, Ellen Burstyn, Ryan Phillippe, Angelina Jolie, Gillian Anderson, Gena Rowlands, Anthony Edwards, and Jon Stewart. December 18

The General John Boorman seems to want to catch up with Neil Jordan and The Butcher Boy with this prosaic comedy about Martin Cahill, a Robin Hood­style Dublin gangster who beat the cops for years until the IRA got him first. Nothing new, and an addition to the serious dip Boorman's undulating career is stuck in. With an understated Brendan Gleeson and Jon Voight managing an Irish-op brogue. December 18

Prince Of Egypt Spielberg and DreamWorks fulfill what may have seemed to be a Hollywood obligation and remake De Mille's The Ten Commandments, and by gosh, the Pharaoh even looks like Yul Brynner. Will Nefretiri sound like Anne Baxter? Voices by Val Kilmer, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Helen Mirren, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ralph Fiennes, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, and Patrick Stewart. December 18

The Swindle As prolific as he's ever been, Claude Chabrol revisits the international thriller terrain of the '60s with Isabelle Huppert and Michel Serrault as two petty grifters caught up in a big transcontinental to-do revolving around a briefcase full of cash. December 23

Zakir And His Friends A documentary about international percussionists and rhythm makers. December 23

Down In The Delta In Maya Angelou's directorial debut, Alfre Woodard brings her drug-addled daughter back to Mississippi. December 25

The Faculty Another teen-horror Kevin Williamson script, this time brought to life by Robert Rodriguez, so at least we know that before they're eviscerated, the fabulous-looking teen stars will do a lot of flying through the air and stuff. Elijah Wood, Shawn Hatosy, Summer Phoenix, and Jordana Brewster are some of the kids; Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, and Jon Stewart (nice new agent, Jon!) are the adults. December 25

Hurlyburly David Rabe's scabrous play finally makes it to the screen, and with a cool cast of frustrated-with-Hollywood actors: Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn, Kevin Spacey, Chazz Palminteri, Meg Ryan, and Anna Paquin. December 25

Mighty Joe Young Yes, but where's Robert Armstrong? Another stop-animated big-beast movie of the past gets retrofitted for the present. Bill Paxton and Charlize Theron are stuck gazing up at the digital gorilla-to-be-added-later. December 25

Overture The plot is questionable— a baby abandoned on a boat at the turn of the century grows up to be a musical genius. Tim Roth and Laurence Fishburne may save the ship. December 25

Tea With Mussolini Zeffirelli's semiautobiographical tale— a bittersweet comedy set against Fascist Italy— looks to go up against Life Is Beautiful come Oscar time. Cher plays an American adventuress and Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, and Judi Dench a trio of eccentric British expatriates. December 25

The Hi-Lo Country Stephen Frears, whose mixed bag includes The Grifters and Mary Reilly, directs this story about two men who fall in love with the same woman in post­WW II Mexico. Starring Woody Harrelson, Patricia Arquette, Sam Elliott, and Billy Crudup. December 30

Fantastic Planet Rene Laloux's lurid and lysergic 1973 sci-fi cartoon, cowritten with Roland Topor, gets a swinging rerelease, coupled with a short the two made eight years before, Les Escargots. January

Jeanne And The Perfect Guy Or make that le garçon formidable, which the lovely, lanky Virginie Ledoyen searches for from bed to Parisian bed, dancing through sweet, Jacques Demy­esque musical numbers the entire way. Her journey eventually ends with Mathieu Demy (Jacques's son), who is gay and has AIDS. Directed and written with a warm sense of homage by Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau. January

Mary Jane's Not A Virgin Anymore Sarah Jacobson's touring, low-budget film is about a repressed teenager's sexual awakening. January

Rock The Boat A documentary by Bobby Houston that traces the trans-Pacific voyage of HIV-positive sailors. January

Analyze This A Harold Ramis comedy in which Mafia don Robert De Niro gets his nervous shrink (Billy Crystal) involved with mob business. Written by a committee made up of people who have all presumably seen Grosse Pointe Blank. January

Office Space Mike Judge's primary talent seemed to be handling the voices for both Beavis and Butt-Head, certainly not comedy writing or directorial panache. We'll see how far he can stretch with this live-action debut, in which Jennifer Aniston and other youngish wastrels try to deal with '90s corporate culture. January

Payback Brian Helgeland, who somehow managed to cowrite the screenplays for both L.A. Confidential and The Postman, makes his directorial debut with this Mel Gibson thriller, based on the novel that inspired John Boorman's 1967 Point Blank. Maria Bello and James Coburn costar. January\

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