By Anna Merlan
By Anna Merlan
By Julie Seabaugh
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
THE POLAR EXPRESS
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 Lifetake your pick). Could be nifty, but let's hope it's more than an extended demo tape.
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
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
BEYOND THE SEA
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.
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
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 Romaniaisn't that enough to free us from a European remake?
GUERRILLA: THE TAKING OF PATTY HEARST
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.
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
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
Steven Soderbergh does penance for the box-office failure of Solaris. Could be worse.
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
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
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?
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).
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.