Film

2006 Fall Arts Preview


Published on September 14, 2006, 12:00am | Comments

Opening dates are tentative. Subject to change at a studio's whim.


SEPTEMBER

Gridiron Gang -- The Rock stars as a counselor at a juvenile detention center who interests the delinquents in football and, thereby, a chance to beat up on one another legitimately. (9/15)

The Last Kiss -- Zach Braff (Scrubs) has doubts about his longtime relationship with his newly pregnant girlfriend. Co-starring Casey Affleck, Blythe Danner and Jacinda Barrett. Screenplay by Paul Haggis (Crash). (9/15)

The Black Dahlia -- After a spate of truly wretched films, including the unwatchable Mission to Mars, could Brian de Palma be back in the suspense saddle? We can only hope. With Josh Hartnett and Hilary Swank. (9/15)

Confetti -- A mockumentary starring Martin Freeman (Love Actually) in which three engaged couples vie to win the title ''Most Original Wedding of the Year.'' (9/15)

The Amateurs -- Jeff Bridges plays a man undergoing a mid-life crisis who convinces his neighbors to make an adult film. With Joe Pantoliano, William Fichtner, Ted Danson, Patrick Fugit and Glenne Headley. (9/15)

The Science of Sleep -- Michael Gondry does not make easy movies (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), but he sure makes wildly interesting ones. Expect this to be the wildest yet. With Gael Garcia Bernal. (9/22)

Jackass: Number Two -- More jackassery from Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O and Bam Margera. (9/22)

All the King's Men -- Based on Robert Penn Warren's novelization of the life of Louisiana Gov. Huey Long, this is an update of the Oscar-winning 1949 film. Starring Sean Penn, Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins. (9/22)

Flyboys -- WWI dogfights galore, as a group of arrogant Americans join an elite squadron of even more arrogant French fighter pilots. With James Franco and Jean Reno. (9/22)

American Hardcore -- Get your minds out of the gutter, it's not porn. It's a documentary about the hardcore punk music scene that swept our country in the early-to-mid '80s. Ah, remember the elbow-breaking bliss of slam-dancing? (9/22)

Open Season -- More yapping, yammering, cavorting CGI woodland animals, this time voiced by Ashton Kutcher, Martin Lawrence and Debra Messing. Will the abuse never end? (9/29)

School for Scoundrels -- Todd Phillips (Old School) helms this comedy about a mild-mannered young man (Jon Heder) who tries to win over the girl of his dreams and finds he has competition from his confidence-building instructor (Billy Bob Thornton). (9/29)

The Guardian -- Kevin Costner as a rescue diver with a guilt complex. Ashton Kutcher as a cocky young diver whom Costner takes under wing. Okay. We're waiting for the dramatic fireworks.... waiting... waiting... (9/29)

The Last King of Scotland -- Looks like a guaranteed Oscar-nom for Forest Whitaker, who plays dictator Idi Amin at the height of his horrific reign. With James McAvoy as a Scottish doctor who becomes Amin's personal physician. With Gillian Anderson. (9/29)

Sleeping Dogs Lie -- Ask yourself this: After Shakes the Clown, why would anyone let Bobcat Goldthwait direct anything? And yet here we are. A romantic comedy, no less. (9/29)


OCTOBER

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning -- Every chainsaw wielding maniac has a first kill. Here's Leatherface's, courtesy producer Michael Bay. (10/6)

Stormbreaker -- After his super-spy uncle dies, a young man (Alex Pettyfer) gets chosen for service by Britain's elite intelligence organization, MI6. It's Spy Teens! Directed by Geoffrey Sax, whose last film was the Michael Keaton nuke White Noise. Uh-oh. (10/6)


The Departed -- DiCaprio. Damon. Nicholson! All in a tale of deception and double-crossing in the police force and in the mob. Directed by Scorsese! It's a cinephile's dream come true. (10/6)

The Queen -- Helen Mirren is already winning plaudits for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, who must contend with the sudden, tragic death of England's beloved Princess Di. With James Cromwell as Prince Phillip. Directed by Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons). (10/6)


Reel Affirmations XVI Opening Night: Shortbus -- The 16th annual Gay and Lesbian film festival kicks off with its boldest, most daring film yet: John Cameron Mitchell's provocative Shortbus, which contains the kind of explicit sex you typically only find on the Internet these days. But Shortbus is more than an excuse to revel in legitimized cinematic porn -- it is brilliant, shocking, disturbing, and deeply, profoundly heartfelt. It's the way all movies ought to be made -- with care, intelligence and intensely focused artistic vision. (10/12)

The Grudge 2 -- Amber Tamblyn journeys to Tokyo to find what became of her sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar) in this sequel. Terrifying things await her, which goes to prove you can't keep a good grudge down. (10/13)

Sunshine -- Earth's sun is dying and a team of astronauts is sent to reignite it with an industrial-strength Bic. (10/13)

Man of the Year -- Barry Levinson's satire involves a radio talk-show host (Robin Williams) who, on a lark, runs for president -- and wins. With Lewis Black and Laura Linney. (10/13)

Infamous -- The latest film to deal with Truman Capote's obsession with the killers that lead to his masterpiece, In Cold Blood. With British actor Toby Jones as Capote, Sandra Bullock as Harper Lee (uh-oh), and Daniel ''007'' Craig as Perry Smith, one of the two convicted murderers. (10/13)

Driving Lessons -- Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter series) plays a shy young man drawn out of his shell by an older former actress, played by Julie Walters (who, ironically, plays Ron Weasley's mum in the Harry Potter series). (10/13)

Flags of Our Fathers -- The life stories of the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima during WWII and became icons of history, not to mention a statue in Rosslyn. This first of two WWII dramas from director Clint Eastwood stars Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford and Jamie Bell. (10/20)


Marie Antoinette -- You'll be shouting ''Bring me the head of Kirsten Dunst,'' too, as you partake in this lavish biopic about the ill-fated Queen of France. Directed by Sophia Coppola, so at least we can take comfort in the fact that there's at least one Coppola still making movies. (10/20)

The Prestige -- Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are rival magicians in this thriller from Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins). (10/20)

DOA: Dead or Alive -- This season's video-game-to-movie adaptation. Wake us when they decide to do ''Pac Man vs. Pong.'' (10/20)

Flicka -- How did Michael Mayer, the great Broadway director and man behind the screen adaptation of Michael Cunningham's A Home at the End of the World, end up with a family-friendly movie about the bond between a girl (Alison Lohman) and a horse? What's next -- Flipper: The Mystery of the Dorsal Fin? (10/20)

The Nightmare Before Christmas -- A reissue of the 1993 stop-motion hit in glorious 3-D. For a real trip, try watching it without the glasses. (10/20)

Running with Scissors -- The weird, wacky and startling autobiography of Augusten Burroughs finally makes it to the big screen with a cast that includes Alec Baldwin, Annette Benning, Brian Cox, Jill Clayburgh and Joseph Cross as young Augusten. (10/20)

Saw III -- He might have terminal cancer, but Jigsaw is still working overtime, teaching people life's lessons in his unique, torture-trap way. (10/27)

Lucky You -- The World Series of Poker lies at the center of this drama from director Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential). With Eric Bana, Robert Duvall, Jean Smart, Debra Messing and Drew Barrymore. (10/27)


NOVEMBER


Borat -- Subtitled ''Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,'' this designed-to-offend mockumentary brings to the big screen Sacha Baron Cohen's most flagrantly (and hilariously) un-PC character. So long, Ali G. Hello, Borat! (11/3)

Flushed Away -- Aardmann Animation (Wallace and Gromit) tackles its first CGI production, apparently retaining all the delightful touches that make their claymation films works of genius. Featuring the voices of Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen. (11/3)

The Santa Clause III: Escape Clause -- Tim Allen's Santa fights Martin Short's wicked Jack Frost, who wants to put a end to Christmas. Echoes of the Grinch? (11/3)

Harsh Times -- Christian Bale and Freddy Rodriguez in a dark, violent tale of two friends who embark on a drunken rampage in L.A. Directed by David Ayer, screenwriter of Training Day. (11/10)

The Return -- Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a woman who has dreams of another woman's murder and sets out to investigate. Busybody. (11/10)

Stranger than Fiction -- Will Ferrell plays an IRS auditor who hears in his head an ongoing narration of his every move. With Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson and Queen Latifah. Directed by Marc Forster (Finding Neverland). (11/10)

A Good Year -- The latest from Ridley Scott features a cell-phone-throwing Russell Crowe as a harried businessman who inherits a family vineyard and learns that throwing wine bottles is much more gratifying. Costarring Albert Finney. (11/10)

**** -- We can't print the title of this film. Suffice to say it's a documentary about a very popular profanity, its origins and its impact on society. Gee, can't wait for the sequel: ************. (11/10)

Casino Royale -- Can the James Bond series be rebooted? Will Daniel Craig soar in the iconic role? Or will he sink like an olive in a shaken, not stirred, martini? (11/17)

Fast Food Nation -- Richard Linklater's fictionalized adaptation of the terrific non-fiction book about the behind-the-scenes horrors of the fast-food industry. With Greg Kinnear and Bruce Willis. (11/17)


The Fountain -- Darren Aronofsky (Pi) directs this mystical tale of the Tree of Life and its long-lasting impact on those who encounter its powers. With Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. (11/22)

Déjà Vu -- Tony Scott's latest thriller involves an ATF agent who travels back in time to save a woman from being murdered. (11/22)

For Your Consideration -- All hail Christopher Guest, who has brought us the brilliant, hilarious mockumentaries Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman. This time he focuses his wicked satirical eye on movie awards. With Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Harry Shearer, Larry Miller, Bob Balaban, Jennifer Coolidge and Ricky Gervais. (11/22)

Bobby -- Emilio Estevez (uh-oh) directs this part-fictional, part-factual tale of the events surrounding the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. With Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore (double uh-oh) and Sharon Stone (triple uh-oh). (11/22)

Deck the Halls -- Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito play neighbors who compete to see who can put the most Christmas-decorations on their house so it can be seen from space. (11/22)


DECEMBER

Bug -- William Friedkin directs this psychological thriller about a Gulf War vet with serious issues. (12/1)

Van Wilder 2: Rise of the Taj -- What? No Ryan Reynolds? How can you have a Van Wilder without Ryan Reynolds? (12/1)

The Nativity Story -- Three guesses as to what this movie's about. Well, here's the kicker: It's directed by Catherine Hardwicke, whose films have included the frank and compelling teen dramas Thirteen and The Lords of Dogtown. Guess she's found religion. (12/1)

Apocalypto -- The new Mel Gibson movie everyone should avoid on principal. Let's send Mad Max a lesson. (12/8)


The Good German -- A post-WWII Berlin thriller, shot in the style of the '40s, and starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. Directed by Steven Soderburgh. Anyone hear Oscar knocking? (12/8)

Eragon -- The film adaptation of teenage writer Christopher Paolini's epic fantasy involving dragons, evil kings, and a heroic farmboy. Starring Jeremy Irons and newcomer Edward Speleers. (12/15)

The Pursuit of Happyness -- Will Smith is a struggling salesman who, in the '70s, aspires to provide a better life for himself and his young son. Why, we think Oscar's knocking here as well! (12/15)

Charlotte's Web -- E.B. White's classic is given the Babe treatment. With Julia Roberts as the voice of spider Charlotte and Dominic Scott Kay as Wilbur. (12/22)

The Good Shepherd -- Robert DeNiro directs and stars in this tale of the origins of the CIA, starring Matt Damon as one of the organization's key founders. With Angelina Jolie. Knock knock. (12/22)

We Are Marshall -- What? McG's new movie is not about U.S. Air Marshals? It's about football? Who knew? (12/22)

Rocky Balboa -- Gotta fly now. (12/22)

Children of Men -- In the future, women will no longer be able to give birth, dooming humankind's existence. But there is hope in the form of a lone pregnant woman, who must be safely transported to a scientific sanctuary. With Clive Owen and Julianne Moore. Directed by Alfonso Curaon. Knock, knock, knock. (12/29)


Dreamgirls -- Beyonce Knowles, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy in the eagerly-awaited screen adaptation of the hit musical about tumult within an all-girl group. Directed by Bill Condon (Kinsey). Knock, knock, knock, KNOCK! (12/29)

Black Christmas -- Did we really need a remake of this schlock horror classic about a group of sorority sisters terrorized by a homicidal maniac dressed as Santa Claus? The correct answer, in case you're wondering, is... No. (12/29)

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