By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Argentine new wave key player Pablo Trapero follows up the underseen Crane Worldwith a police-corruption drama. A country yokel tries to make it as a cop in the big city.
In Jim Sheridan's semi-autobiographical film (emphasis, presumably, on the "semi"it's set in the present day), a family of Irish immigrants learns to get by in New York.
THE LAST SAMURAI
Tom Cruise is a Civil War warrior gone to Japan to help the emperor combat renegade samurai, but eventually he defects over to the cause of the honorable lone wolves instead. Lavish Oscar bait directed by Ed "0-for-6" Zwick in a post-Crouching Tiger world.
December 5, 12, and 19
Belgian director Lucas Belvaux tells three synchronous, interlocking stories in three movies, each with an assigned genrethriller (On the Run), comedy (An Amazing Couple), and melodrama (After the Life). Although the triptych eventually acquires the warm familiarity of a good miniseries, it's hard not to wish that Belvaux had further elaborated any one episode.
Documentary about an American power company's efforts to run a utility business in the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, where, initially, almost no one was willing to pay for electricity.
GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING
SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE
STUCK ON YOU
Having helmed the key films of the last decade on a number of important medical issuesmental retardation (Dumb and Dumber), amputation (Kingpin), multiple personality disorder (Me, Myself & Irene), and even misplaced ejaculation (There's Something About Mary)the fearless Farrellys will now chronicle the travails of a pair of very brave conjoined twins (Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear).
LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
If a hobbit and an orc mated, would the offspring be a horc or an orbbit?
MONA LISA SMILE
Julia Roberts hem-alters Dead Poets Societyto fit her slim figure, playing a free-spirited 1950s Wellesley teacher persecuted by conservative administrators, parents, and students. Next she'll play Mary Baker Eddy.
A young man (Billy Crudup) reconstructs the life story of his ailing father (Albert Finney) from the old man's grossly exaggerated tales. Ewan McGregor plays Finney as a younger man. Sounds schmaltzy, but Tim Burton's directing.
John Lee Hancock takes the free rein he earned with The Rookieand goes hog wild in this massive historical nightmare, which will undoubtedly sing the praises of American heroes as they invade Mexican territory and slaughter thousands of Mexicans. Dennis Quaid is Sam Houston, Billy Bob Thornton is Davy Crockett, Jason Patric is Jim Bowie. Has to be better than John Wayne's 1960 version, and even that got a Best Picture nomination.
Charles Frazier's bestselling, award-vacuuming Civil War novel gets the I-wanna-nutha-Oscar Anthony Minghella treatment, with Jude Law as the tale's Ulysses, and colorful scenery provided by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Giovanni Ribisi, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, and Natalie Portman. It will be grown-up, but will it be worth the ass-time?
Philip K. Dick adaptations are either hit (Blade Runner, Minority Report) or miss-by-a-mile (Impostor). This one, directed by John Woo and starring Ben Affleck as a memory-deleted engineer, sounds more like the latter. J.Lo doesn't co-star.
This PJ Hogan-directed adaptationnot to be confused with next year's J.M. Barrie'sNeverland, about the writing of Peter Pansounds pretty straightforward. But Ludivine Sagnier as Tinkerbell? That makes us wish we hadn't grown up.
THE FOG OF WAR
Subtitled Eleven Lessons of Robert S. McNamara. Master bullshit-detector Errol Morris takes on 40 years of United States governmental sedition and chicanery by way of McNamara's center-stage participation and his autumnal utterances of regret. Philip Glass provides aural anxiety.