Picture This

Thrillers! Satires! Westerns! Indies! Blockbusters! Sequels!

13 Days
(December 20)

Based on the White House tapes, it's a literal tour of the Bay of Pigs dilemma, with Bruce Greenwood as JFK and Kevin Costner—supporting?—as adviser Kenny O'Donnell.

But Forever in My Mind
(December 20)

Willem Dafoe as real vampire Max Schreck in Shadow of the Vampire
photo: Jean-Paul Kieffer
Willem Dafoe as real vampire Max Schreck in Shadow of the Vampire

Another sweet growing-up Euromovie, this time Italian and chin-deep in soured politics and '60s whiplash.

Cast Away
(December 22)

Robert Zemeckis steers this sinker, with Tom Hanks as a FedEx agent who gets stranded on a desert island. Might be decent, but could it match Yosemite Sam's I-hates-coconuts genre apex?

Enemy at the Gates
(December 22)

A super epic (one of the most expensive made in Europe) about a master sniper at the Battle of Stalingrad, played by Jude Law. Directed with his ambitious anonymity by Jean-Jacques Annaud, and featuring Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Eva Mattes, and Bob Hoskins as Khrushchev.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
(December 22)

The Coens have their promiscuous, Rube Goldberg way with Depression-era screwball, casting George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson as Stooge-ish hoboes lost in a musical '30s never-never South. If it's not one of the year's reigning shit-eating-grin movies, it's not for lack of trying.

State and Main
(December 22)

A parasitic film crew descends on a yokel town in David Mamet's anti-Hollywood farce, which is every bit as smug and vapid as his imagined targets.

Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000
(December 22)

We can never have enough movie versions of this hoary tale—how could you lay it to rest until Jonny Lee Miller has had a chance to play the Count? Craven is only one of five executive producers; the man in the hot seat is Patrick Lussier, editor of both Scream 2 and Scream 3.

An Everlasting Piece
(December 25)

Neither big-budget recyclable nor Baltimore memoir film, Barry Levinson's latest involves two Belfast barbers, one Protestant, one Catholic, who team up. Billy Connolly probably isn't in it enough.

Finding Forrester
(December 25)

The increasingly uninteresting Gus Van Sant has apparently called this unlikely-mentor movie in which a reclusive novelist (Sean Connery) bonds with a black teen athlete "the evil twin of Good Will Hunting." Sounds more like the inbred cousin of Smoke.

Miss Congeniality
(December 25)

The unnecessary onslaught of beauty pageant/cheerleader satires rolls on: Sandra Bullock's FBI agent goes undercover at the Miss New Jersey contest.

Moulin Rouge
(December 25)

Baz Luhrmann's doubtlessly garish musical is not a remake of John Huston's biopic, but it is set in fin-de-siècle Montmartre—where poet Ewan McGregor falls for courtesan Nicole Kidman—and (in a stroke of genius or madness) features John Leguizamo as Toulouse-Lautrec.

Vatel
(December 25)

Roland Joffé's Cannes opener about Louis XIV's chef promises to be pretty vacant. Gérard Depardieu in the title role, with Julian Sands as the king and Uma Thurman as his mistress. Tom Stoppard cowrote, which means cute literary references to tickle the freshmen.

The Gift

Cate Blanchett portrays a telepathic woman embroiled in a murder mystery in backwoods Arkansas for Sam Raimi and cowriter/trailer titan Billy Bob Thornton. Keanu Reeves plays a suspect; Hilary Swank, again enduring the caprices of redneck mastodons, is his battered wife.

Proof of Life

Meg Ryan hires hostage negotiator Russell Crowe to return her kidnapped husband but finds herself falling in love with the interloper; insert your own hijacked-marriage joke here.

The Tailor of Panama

Slump-pope John Boorman, longing for a hit, adapts vintage le Carré, with Pierce Brosnan as the urbane spy in question. With Dylan Baker and Jamie Lee Curtis.


Fall

Buying the Cow

Commitment phobia rom-com. Etc.

Kingdom Come

Scarily prolific Brit Michael Winterbottom tosses off yet another one. Peter Mullan and Sarah Polley star in this Faustian Yukon gold-rush drama; Nastassja Kinski and Milla Jovovich try not to ruin too many takes.

The Million Dollar Hotel

Bono trails fellow aging former arena rocker Michael Stipe into the movie trade by writing, producing, and scoring Wim Wenders's latest goulash of philosokitschy Eurotrash whimsy.

Pollock

Can't wait for this: Ed Harris directs and plays Jackson P., with Val Kilmer as de Kooning, Marcia Gay Harden as Lee Krasner, and Jeffrey Tambor as Clement Greenberg! The casting had to be more fun than the movie, and if this does train-wreck, it'll be a fiery mess going down.

Squelch

John Dahl's mid-'90s neo-noirs haven't aged well, but he's good with actors (Gretchen Mol notwith-standing), and this romance-driven, psychodrama-spiked road movie has both welcome comic possibilities and Steve Zahn going for it.


Rereleases

This is Spinal TapSeptember 8;

The Times of Harvey MilkSeptember 15;House of Wax(in 3-D) September 22;The Exorcist (director's cut with extra scenes) September 22;Two-Lane BlacktopSeptember 29;All About Eve October 6;Diary of a Chambermaid(Luis Buñuel) October 13;Wonder Boys October 20;Billy Liar (John Schlesinger) November 17;A Hard Day's NightDecember 1;Miss Sadie Thompson (Rita Hayworth in 3-D!) December 22;The Mystery of Picasso(Henri-Georges Clouzot) December 29;2001: A Space OdysseyDecember 31


Festivals and Retros

'RIDE LONESOME: A BUDD BOETTICHER RETROSPECTIVE'
September 16-October 1
American Museum of the Moving Image, 35th Avenue at 36th Street, Queens, 718-784-0077

An assortment of films by America's working-class auteur. Includes Boetticher's seminal westerns with Randolph Scott and a rare screening of Arruza, the 1962 portrait of matador Carlos Arruza that all but ruined the director. Boetticher will attend the October 1 screenings.

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