Screen Siege

Cinematic campaigning: This fall, filmmakers assault the status quo at a theater near you


THE POLAR EXPRESS
November 10

A computer-animated feature extrapolated from live-action shooting, Robert Zemeckis's adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's well-regarded bedtime story is sort of like Who Framed Roger Rabbit in reverse (or a 3-D cousin to Waking Life—take your pick). Could be nifty, but let's hope it's more than an extended demo tape.


FINDING NEVERLAND
November 12

With this biopic of Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie, Hollywood may (a) finally give Johnny Depp that long-deserved Oscar, and (b) make amends for Hook and last year's Peter Pan.


KINSEY
November 12

Gods and Monsters' Bill Condon tackles the life of Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson), whose pioneering studies on human sexuality ensured him a mention in intro psychology textbooks the world over. Laura Linney plays Mrs. Kinsey.


LA PETITE LILI
November 12

Claude Miller puts a modern Gallic spin on Chekhov's The Seagull. In all likelihood, most of the film will just be more Ludivine Sagnier auditioning for Audrey Tautou's scraps.


BAD EDUCATION
November 19

Possibly the sunniest film noir ever made, Pedro Almodóvar's latest is a mystery involving the relationship between a young film director and a man who claims to be his boyhood love from a Catholic boarding school. And yes, there is a sexually abusive priest involved.


BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON
November 19

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a sequel to the 2001 adaptation of Helen Fielding's novel, starring a festively plump Renée Zellweger.


BEYOND THE SEA
November 24

Not yet finished ruining his career, Kevin Spacey directs himself in this biopic of crooner Bobby Darin. Here's hoping that wife Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth) catches him lifting weights and smoking pot in the garage, otherwise we're in for two long hours of preparation to watch Darin die in that level of sanctimony only Spacey can attain.


NOTRE MUSIQUE
November 24

Never at a loss for self-confidence, French master Jean-Luc Godard borrows the tripartite structure of his newest film, another Cannes favorite, from no less than Dante. Divided into sections entitled Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, the film reportedly deals with contemporary issues of war and terrorism.


A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT
November 26

Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Audrey Tautou reunite for a drama about a woman struggling to get to her fiancé during World War I. The Weinsteins filmed Cold Mountain in Romania—isn't that enough to free us from a European remake?


GUERRILLA: THE TAKING OF PATTY HEARST
Late November

Documentarian Robert Stone looks at the Symbionese Liberation Army's 1974 kidnapping of Patty Hearst, turning her from an airy socialite into an iconic bank robber and then back to a pardoned airy socialite.


CLOSER
December 3

Mike Nichols directs this adaptation of Patrick Marber's award-winning play about the sexual entanglements between two couples. Starring Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Jude Law, and Natalie Portman (as a stripper!).


HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
December 3

Zhang Yimou's intermittently dazzling martial arts encore doesn't quite soar to the trippy heights of Hero: The loss of Chris Doyle is sorely felt, and the R&J melodramatics are, to put it mildly, conventional. But given the rest of Zhang's post-Gong career, we'll take what we can get.


THE LIFE AQUATIC
December 10

Bill Murray stars as an oceanographer in the fourth feature from Rushmore director Wes Anderson. We can't quite figure out what the hell this movie's about, but we're psyched anyway.


OCEAN'S TWELVE
December 10

Steven Soderbergh does penance for the box-office failure of Solaris. Could be worse.


THE AVIATOR
December 17

Martin Scorsese takes his shot at Oscar glory with this Miramax-produced period epic starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a vengeful young man . . . wait, what? Oh, Howard Hughes. DiCaprio plays Howard Hughes.


LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
December 17

The popular Addams Family–meets–Harry Potter children's series gets a big-screen treatment, with Jim Carrey hamming it up as Count Olaf (no, not Nosferatu's Count Orlok).


SPANGLISH
December 17

James L. Brooks directs this story about the language barrier between an immigrant housekeeper and her employers. Another prestige picture for Adam SandlerFrank Coraci and Steven Brill must have been busy.


MEET THE FOCKERS
December 22

Having churned through countless rewrites, the once anticipated sequel to Meet the Parents comes with the uninspired casting of Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand as the title characters. What was wrong with Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara?


PROOF
December 24

The Pulitzer Prize–winning play gets the Hollywood treatment with its story of budding romance between mathematicians Gwyneth Paltrow and Jake Gyllenhaal. John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) directs.


THE WOODSMAN
December 24

Newmarket spends some of their Christ money to prepare a controversy over The Passion of the Pederast. In the film, a convicted pedophile (Kevin Bacon) returns to the free world and falls in love with an adult woman (Kyra Sedgwick).


ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER'S THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
December 25

He could probably have had any director in Hollywood, and Lord Lloyd Webber settles on . . . Joel Schumacher. While the Batman & Robin director's presence ensures a degree of dissonance in the mise-en-scène, the casting (Emmy Rossum as Christine, Dracula 2000's Gerard Butler as the Phantom) might make for an interesting duet.

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