V No. 8/9
publication of the National Association of Theatre Owners
in In Focus
Horror thriller, set in the voodoo country of the Louisiana bayou, about
a group of teens who must fight for their lives when they’re
threatened by a mysterious force. Directed by Jim Gillespie (“I
Know What You Did Last Summer”) from a screenplay by Brandon
Boyce (“Apt Pupil,” “Wicker Park”). With Agnes
Bruckner (“Blue Car,” “The Woods”), Jonathan
Jackson (“Riding the Bullet”), Rick Cramer (“The
Battle of Shaker Heights”), D.J. Cotrona (TV’s “Skin”),
Meagan Good (“The Cookout,” “Roll Bounce”),
Method Man (“Soul Plane”), Bijou Phillips (“The Door
in the Floor”) and James Pickins, Jr. (“Traffic”).
R: Strong horror violence/gore; language. Sept. 16. Miramax.
Comedy-drama about what happens when a small town’s citizenry
discovers the image of Jesus on a local’s screen door. Kirk Davis
makes his feature directorial debut from his own script. With Richard
Dillard (“Friday Night Lights”), Scarlett McAlister (“The
Missing”), Alaina Kalanj (“Serving Sara”), Buck Taylor
(“The Alamo”), Myk Watford (“Marci X”), Cynthia
Dorn (“The Rookie”) and Julius Tennon (“Friday Night
Lights”). Flat. 115 min. R: Language; some sexual content. Sept.
Romantic comedy, set in Los Angeles, about a struggling artist and department
store salesgirl who finds herself torn between the middle-aged millionaire
she sleeps with and the young loser who loves her. Based on the novella
by Steve Martin (“The Pleasure of My Company”). Directed
by Anand Tucker (“Hilary and Jackie”) from a screenplay by
Martin (“Roxanne,” “L.A. Story,” “A Simple
Twist of Fate”). With Martin (“Cheaper By the Dozen”),
Claire Danes (“Stage Beauty”), Jason Schwartzman (“Bewitched”),
Frances Conroy (“The Aviator,” “Broken Flowers”),
Rebecca Pidgeon (“Heist”), Sam Bottoms (“Seabiscuit”),
Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (“Extreme Ops”), Shane Edelman (“Catch
Me If You Can”), Anne Marie Howard (“Blue Streak,” “The
Weather Man”), Shawn Christian (TV’s “Summerland”),
Yorgo Constantine (“The Last Shot”), Kris Deskins (“Half
Past Dead”) and Gina Doctor (“Laurel Canyon”). Scope.
R: Some sexual content; brief language. Oct. 21. Buena Vista.
Supernatural thriller about a therapist at an Ivy League university
who attempts to prevent one of his students from commiting suicide.
Directed by Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland”) from a screenplay
by David Benioff (“25th Hour,” “Troy”). With
Ewan McGregor (“The Island”), Naomi Watts (“The Ring
2”), Ryan Gosling (“The Notebook”), Elizabeth Reaser
(“13 Conversations About One Thing”), Janeane Garofalo
(“Wonderland”), Kate Burton (“Unfaithful”),
B.D. Wong (“The Salton Sea”) and Mark Margolis (“Daredevil”).
Scope. R: Language; some disturbing images. Oct. 14. Fox.
Horror anthology comprised of three short films from three Far East nations.
1) “Box,” directed by Takashi Miike (“Audition,” “Gozu”)
from a screenplay by Haruko Fukushima and starring Kyoko Hasegawa
and Atsuro Watabe, is a surreal Japanese-language thriller about
a woman who believes her horrific nightmares may be coming true.
2) “Dumplings,” directed by Fruit Chan from a screenplay
by Lilian Lee and starring Bai Ling (“The Beautiful Country”)
and Tony Leung (“Zhou Yu’s Train”), is a darkly
comic Chinese-language tale about a woman who goes to grisly lengths
in the service of her vanity. 3) “Cut,” written and directed
by Chan-wook Park (“Oldboy”) and starring Byung-hun Lee
(“3-Iron”), Jung-ah Yum, Won-hie Lim and Hye-jeong Kim
(“Oldboy”), is a Korean-language thriller about a young
movie extra who kidnaps and gruesomely tortures a film director and
his wife in their home. Flat. 126 min. Oct. 28. Lions Gate.
Comedy-drama about a thumbsucking 17-year-old who, in a desperate attempt
to kick the childish habit, turns to his orthodontist and high school
debate coach for help. Based on the novel by Walter Kim. Music-video
director Mike Mills (Air’s “All I Need” and “Sexy
Boy”) makes his feature directorial debut from his own screenplay.
With Lou Taylor Pucci (“Personal Velocity”), Tilda Swinton
(“Constantine,” “Broken Flowers”), Keanu Reeves
(“Constantine”), Vince Vaughn (“The Wedding Crashers”),
Kelli Garner (“Man of the House”), Benjamin Bratt (“Catwoman,” “The
Great Raid”), and Vincent D’Onofrio (“The Dangerous
Lives of Altar Boys”). 95 min. R: Drug/alcohol use and sexuality
involving teens; language; a disturbing image. Sept. 16 in New York and
Los Angeles. Sony Pictures Classics.
Forces operative Frank Martin, now working
as a driver-bodyguard for a wealthy Miami
family, springs into action when the family’s
two small boys are kidnapped and injected with
a potentially lethal virus. Returnees include
director Corey Yuen (“So Close”)
and screenwriters Robert Mark Kamen & Luc
Besson (“Kiss of the Dragon,” “Unleashed”),
as well as actor Jason Statham (“Cellular”).
Newcomers to the series include Matthew Modine
(“Le Divorce”), Amber Valletta
(“Hitch”), Francois Berleand (“Le
Grand Role”), Tim Ware (“Bobby
Jones, Stroke of Genius”), Jeff Chase
(“The Punisher”), Tim Powell (“Bad
Boys II”), Alessandro Gassman (“A
Month By The Lake”) and Keith David (“Mr. & Mrs.
Smith”). Scope. PG-13: Intense sequences
of violent action; sexual content; partial
nudity; brief language. Sept. 2. Fox.
about a young, destitute mother who, as a
last resort, uproots herself and her pre-teen
to live at her estranged father-in-law’s
ranch in Wyoming. Directed by Lasse Hallström
(“Chocolat,” “The Shipping
News”) from a screenplay by Virginia
and Mark Spragg (“Gross Anatomy”).
With Jennifer Lopez (“Monster-in-Law”),
Robert Redford (“The Clearing”),
Morgan Freeman (“Batman Begins”),
Josh Lucas (“Around the Bend,” “Stealth”),
Damian Lewis (“Dreamcatcher,” “Keane”),
Camryn Manheim (“Dark Water”) and
P. Lynn Johnson (“Final Destination”).
Sept. 9. Miramax.
Wallace & Gromit:
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
animated comedy about a man and his dog,
who are called upon to stop whoever or whatever
is sabotaging their village’s vegetable
gardens, so vital to the looming giant-vegetable
competition. Directed by Steve Box and Nick
Park (“Chicken Run”) from a screenplay
by Park. Featuring the voices of Peter Sallis
as Wallace, Helena Bonham Carter as Lady
Tottington and Ralph Fiennes as Lord Victor
Oct. 7. DreamWorks.
about a young woman who, after her classmates
begin to disappear, discovers a mysterious
inhabitant in the woods surrounding her remote
boarding school. Directed by Lucky McKee
from a screenplay by David Ross. With Agnes
Bruckner (“Stateside,” “The
Reaper”), Patricia Clarkson (“Miracle”),
Rachel Nichols (“The Amityville Horror”),
Bruce Campbell (“Sky High”), Emma
Campbell (“The Aviator”), Lauren
Birkell (“Paparazzi”), Kathleen
Mackey (“Gothika”), Gordon Currie
(“Highwaymen”) and Marcia Bennett
(“The Tuxedo,” “Noel”).
R: Horror violence and language, including
sexual references. Sept. 2. Sony.
Comedy, set in the 1970s, about roller-skating showoffs who find themselves
humbled when their local rink goes out of business and they’re
seriously outclassed by the skaters at the rink across town. Directed
by Malcolm Lee (“Undercover Brother”) from a screenplay by
Norman Vance Jr. (“Beauty Shop”). With Mike Epps (“The
Honeymooners”), Nick Cannon (“Shall We Dance?”), Rick
Gonzalez (“Coach Carter”), Meagan Good (“The Cookout,” “The
Reaper”), Lil’ Bow Wow (“Johnson Family Vacation”)
and Chi McBride (“I, Robot”). Scope. PG-13: Language; some
crude humor. Sept. 23. Fox Searchlight.
Factions of an all-powerful interplanetary government grow keener than
ever to recover River Tam, the beautiful but unbalanced young fugitive
rescued by a small-time space-criminal named Mal Reynolds. A big-screen
sequel to the short-lived 2002 sci-fi TV series “Firefly.” Screenwriter
Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Toy Story,” “Alien:
Resurrection,” “Titan A.E.”), who created “Firefly,” makes
his feature directorial debut from his own script. Actors returning from
the TV series include Nathan Fillion (“Dracula 2000”), Morena
Baccarin (“Roger Dodger”), Adam Baldwin (“Jackpot”),
Jewel Staite (“Carpool”), Gina Torres (“The Matrix Revolutions”),
Alan Tudyk (“I, Robot”), Sean Maher (the 2001 TV movie “Brian’s
Song”), Summer Glau (“Sleepover”) and Ron Glass (“Houseguest”).
Newcomers to the franchise include Chiwetel Ejiofor (“Melinda and
Melinda”), David Krumholtz (“Ray”), Michael Hitchcock
(“A Mighty Wind,” “Pretty Persuasion”), Glenn Howerton
(TV’s “ER”), Becky Stockton (“Miss Congeniality
2: Armed and Fabulous”) and Scott Kinworth (“House of Sand
and Fog”). PG-13: Sequences of intense violence and action; some
sexual references. Sept 30. Universal.
Sound of Thunder
Fantasy actioner about a game hunter who, while on a time-traveling dinosaur
safari, accidentally erases humanity from the face of the planet. Directed
by Peter Hyams (“The Musketeer”) from a screenplay by Thomas
Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Clement Enlatarne and Gregory Poirier
(“See Spot Run,””Tomcats”). With Ben Kingsley
(“Thunderbirds,” “Oliver Twist”), Edward Burns
(“Confidence”), Catherine McCormack (“Spy Games”),
Jemima Rooper (TV’s “As If”), Corey Johnson (“Hellboy”),
Heike Makatsch (“Love Actually”), Scott Bellefeville (“A
Knight’s Tale”) and August Zirner (“Bella Martha”).
PG-13: Sci-fi violence; partial nudity; language. Sept. 2. Warner Bros.
Thriller about a career CIA agent tracking terrorists, an oil exec reeling
from a family tragedy and a U.S. president who elects to declare war.
Based on Robert Baer’s memoir “See No Evil: The True Story
of a Foot Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism.” Written
and directed by Stephen Gaghan (“Abandon”). With George Clooney
(“Ocean’s Twelve”), Matt Damon (“Ocean’s
Twelve,” “The Brothers Grimm”), Amanda Peet (“A
Lot Like Love”), Greta Scacchi (“Beyond the Sea”),
Christopher McDonald (“Grind”), David Clennon (“Silver
City”) and Michelle Monaghan (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “North
Country”). Sept. 16. Warner Bros.
Hindi-language drama, set in a South India prison, about three convicts
on death row who find their bond tested when a female filmmaker arrives
to make a documentary about them. Written and directed by Nagesh Kukunoor.
With Kukunoor, Jackie Shroff, Naseeruddin Shah (“Leage of Extraordinary
Gentlemen”), Gulshan Grover and Juhi Chawla. Scope. 116 min.
Sept. 23. Indican.
Burton’s Corpse Bride
Stop-motion animated comedy, set in 19th-century Europe, about a young
groom-to-be who accidentally weds (and, in doing so, re-animates),
a murdered girl. Directed by Tim Burton (“Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory”) and veteran animator Mike Johnson (“The Nightmare
Before Christmas,” “James and the Giant Peach”) from
a screenplay by Pamela Pettler (TV’s”Clueless”) and
Caroline Thompson (“The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Black
Beauty,” “Buddy”). Featuring the voices of Johnny
Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson, Danny Elfman, Albert Finney,
Richard E. Grant, Christopher Lee and Joanna Lumley. Sept. 23. Warner
for the Money
about a star football player who enters the
world of sports gambling after a career-halting
knee injury. Directed by D.J. Caruso (“The
Salton Sea,” “Taking Lives”)
from a screenplay by Dan Gilroy (“Chasers”).
With Matthew McConaughey (“Sahara”),
Al Pacino (“Gigli,” “The
Merchant of Venice”), Jeremy Piven (“Chasing
Liberty”), April Telek (“White
Noise”) and Rene Russo (“Big Trouble”).
R: Pervasive language; a scene of sexuality;
a violent act. Oct. 7. Universal.
about a group of twentysomethings who deal
with their drama-filled lives while working
in a busy chain restaurant. Written and directed
by Rob McKittrick. With Ryan Reynolds (“The
Amityville Horror”), Anna Faris (“Lost
in Translation”), Justin Long (“Herbie:
Fully Loaded”), Luis Guzmán (“Lemony
Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “Dreamer”),
John Francis Daley (“View From The Top”),
Kaitlin Doubleday (“Catch Me If You Can”),
David Koechner (“The Dukes of Hazzard,” “The
40-Year-Old Virgin”), Alanna Ubach (“Meet
the Fockers”), Emmanuelle Chriqui (“Wrong
Turn”), Vanessa Lengies (“The Perfect
Man”), Jordan Ladd (“Club Dread”),
Dane Cook (“Torque”), Wayne Ferrara
(“Runaway Jury”), Robert Patrick
Benedict (“Kicking and Screaming”),
Andy Milonakis (MTV’s “Andy Milonakis
Show”) and Chi McBride (“I, Robot,” “Roll
Bounce”). Flat. 93 min. R: Strong crude
and sexual humor; pervasive language; some
drug use. Sept. 23. Lions Gate.
about a middle-aged TV meteorologist who
attempts to bandage a tattered relationship
estranged wife and children before he moves
from Chicago to New York. Directed by Gore
Verbinski (“The Ring,” “The
Pirates of the Caribbean”) from a screenplay
by Steve Conrad (“Wrestling Ernest Hemingway”).
With Nicolas Cage (“National Treasure”),
Michael Caine (“Bewitched”), Hope
Davis (“American Splendor”), Gemmenne
de la Pena (“Erin Brockovich”),
Nicholas Hoult (“About A Boy”),
Michael Rispoli (“Mr. 3000”), David
Darlow (“Road to Perdition”) and
Judith McConnell (“The Thirsty Dead”).
Flat. R: Strong language; sexual content.
Oct. 28. Paramount.
Drama, set in Africa, about an English diplomat who, while investigating
his wife’s brutal murder, discovers that helpless Africans
are being exploited and abused by a major Western pharmaceutical
company. Based on the novel by John Le Carré (“The
Tailor of Panama”). Directed by Fernando Meirelles (“City
of God”) from a screenplay by Jeffrey Caine (“GoldenEye”).
With Ralph Fiennes (“Maid in Manhattan,” “The
Chumscrubber”), Anthony LaPaglia (“Winter Solstice”),
Rachel Weisz (“Constantine”), Pete Postlethwaite (“Dark
Water”), Bill Nighy (“The Hitchhiker’s Guide
to the Galaxy”), Sidede Onyulo (“Nowhere in Africa”),
Richard McCabe (“Vanity Fair”), Gerald McSorley (“Veronica
Guerin”), Donald Sumpter (“K-19: The Widowmaker”)
and Danny Huston (“The Aviator”). Flat. R: Language;
some violent images; sexual content/nudity. Aug. 26. Focus.
The Great Raid
Action-drama, set in the Philippines
during World War II, about Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s
daring 1945 raid, engineered to free 500 American
POWs facing certain death. Directed by John
Dahl (“Joy Ride”) from a screenplay
by Hossein Amini (“The Wings of the Dove,” “The
Four Feathers”). With James Franco (the “Spider-Man” series),
Joseph Fiennes (“The Merchant of Venice”),
Connie Nielsen (“The Hunted”),
Marton Csokas (“Asylum”), Benjamin
Bratt (“Catwoman,” “Thumbsucker”),
Freddie Joe Farnsworth (“Spy Game”),
Robert Mammone (“Vertical Limit”)
and Natalie Mendoza (“Moulin Rouge!”).
R: Strong war violence; brief language. Aug.
|The Memory of a
Dutch- and French-language crime
drama about two detectives on the trail of
an assassin who is nearing retirement – and
showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Directed
by Erik Van Looy from a screenplay by Van Looy
and Carl Joos. With Koen De Bouw, Werner De
Smedt, Jan Decleir (“Rosenstrasse”),
Jo De Meyere and Patrick Descamps (“Trilogy:
After the Life”). Also known as “The
Alzheimer Case.” Aug. 19. Sony Pictures
Chinese-language comedy about
a young country boy who moves to Taipei and
falls under the spell of a homosexual lothario
with commitment issues. Directed by D.J.
Chen from a screenplay by Rady Fu. With Tony
Yang, Duncan, Dada Ji, Jimmy Yang, Ladder
Yu, Chin King and Jason Chang. 93 min. Aug.
Horror thriller about a serial
killer who stalks homosexuals during a Halloween
carnival in West Hollywood, Calif. Written
and directed by Paul Etheridge-Ouzts. With
Dylan Fergus (TV’s “Passions”),
Hank Harris (“Pumpkin”), Matt Phillips,
Andrew Levitas (“Beauty Shop”)
and Bryan Kirkwood. Flat. 85 min. Aug. 12.
Spanish-language actioner, set
in Venezuela, about a young couple who are
kidnapped and spend a terrifying night in the
underbelly of Caracas waiting for the delivery
of a ransom. Written and directed by Jonathan
Jakubowicz. With Mia Maestro (“The Motorcycle
Diaries”), Jean Paul Leroux, Pedro Perez,
Carlos Madera and Rubén Blades (“Once
Upon a Time in Mexico”). R: Strong violence;
drug use; sexuality; language. Aug. 5 in New
York and Los Angeles. Miramax.