Legends of the fall
NOVEMBER 2 ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE In a sequel that actually looks promising, director Shekhar Kapur continues the story begun in Elizabeth (1998) with Cate Blanchett returning as the queen, Clive Owen as Walter Raleigh and Samantha Morton as Mary Stuart. DEATH AT A FUNERAL Matthew Macfadyen, Rupert Graves and Peter Dinklage feature in Frank Oz’s dark comedy set over a family reunion. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT Set in an Alaskan town plunged into darkness every winter, this graphic novel adaptation stars Josh Hartnett as a sheriff tackling visiting vampires. IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON This documentary charts the history of the Apollo moon landings and features most of the surviving astronauts.
NOVEMBER 9 LIONS FOR LAMBS Robert Redford, who also directs, plays a professor who learns that two of his students are marooned in Afghanistan. Tom Cruise co-stars as a Republican senator trying to persuade a journalist (Meryl Streep) to promote his pro-Iraq war views. INTO THE WILD Sean Penn’s fourth film as director observes the experiences of a 1990 college graduate (Emile Hirsch) who drops out of society and seeks spiritual fulfilment in Alaska. PARANOID PARK The protagonist of Gus Van Sant’s minimalist movie is an alienated teen (Gabe Nevis) in a moral dilemma when suspected of killing a railway security guard. SHROOMS Director Paddy Breathnach ventures into the horror genre with a tale of US college students on an Irish holiday who bite off more than they can chew, so to speak, when they take magic mushrooms in a remote wood. INTERVIEW Steve Buscemi directs and stars in the US remake of Theo Van Gogh’s Dutch movie as a veteran political journalist irked when assigned to interview a TV soap star (Sienna Miller). SILK François Girard’s erotic historical drama features Michael Pitt as a 19th-century French merchant attempting to do business in Japan. Keira Knightley plays his wife. THE BAND’S VISIT Eran Kolirin’s well-regarded debut film explores cross-cultural relations when an Egyptian police band is stranded in a remote Israeli town. SAAWARIYA Romance blossoms in a Bollywood treatment of the Dosteovsky story White Nights.
NOVEMBER 16 BEOWULF Robert Zemeckis directs a lavish, hi-tech adventure based on the Old English epic poem and starring Ray Winstone in the title role alongside Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Brendan Gleeson, Alison Lohman and Angelina Jolie. GOOD LUCK CHUCK A dentist (Dane Cook), the victim of a hex in childhood, is unable to find a woman to marry until he meets an accident-prone penguin specialist (Jessica Alba). No kidding. HOW ABOUT YOU Anthony Byrne (Short Order) directs a Maeve Binchy adaptation, with Hayley Atwell as a young woman left in charge of a residential home over Christmas. The cast includes Vanessa Redgrave, Imelda Staunton, Joss Ackland, Brenda Fricker, Orla Brady and the late Joan O’Hara. AMERICAN GANGSTER After the success of Gladiator and the debacle of A Good Year, Ridley Scott teams up with Russell Crowe again for a fact-based, 1970s-set thriller. Crowe stars as a detective on the trail of a notorious drug dealer (Denzel Washington). BRICK LANE Sarah Gavron’s film of Monica Ali’s novel features Tannishtha Chatterjee as a Bangladeshi immigrant to London, trapped in an unhappy arranged marriage. THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB Maria Bello, Hugh Dancy, Emily Blunt, Kathy Baker and Kevin Zegers feature in Robert Swicord’s US drama of characters drawn together by their admiration for Austen’s novels.
NOVEMBER 23 AUGUST RUSH Kirtsen Sheridan’s second feature (after Disco Pigs) stars Freddie Highmore as an orphaned musical prodigy seeking out his parents (Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers). With Robin Williams and Terrence Howard. SLEUTH Kenneth Branagh directs Harold Pinter’s adaptation of the Anthony Shaffer play, first filmed in 1972 with Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine as a wealthy writer and a struggling actor in a battle of wits. Caine now plays the older man, co-starring with Jude Law. THE DARJEELING LIMITED Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman play estranged brothers on a spiritual quest through India that goes wrong. Wes Anderson directs. GONE BABY GONE Ben Affleck’s directing debut stars his brother Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan as Boston private investigators in search of a kidnapped four-year-old girl. THE HUNTING PARTY Richard Gere and Terrence Howard play seasoned TV journalists teaming up with a rookie reporter (Jesse Eisenberg) to track down a Bosnian war criminal. Richard Shepard (The Matador) directs.
NOVEMBER 30 RESCUE DAWN In Werner Herzog’s gritty,
fact-based film set early during the Vietnam war, Christian Bale is reliably adventurous as a German-born US Navy pilot who crashlands in Laos. TALK TO ME Don Cheadle plays a real-life Washington DC DJ who becomes a voice for black Americans in the 1960s. HITMAN Timothy Olyphant plays a professional assassin who himself becomes a target while on assignment in eastern Europe. With Dougray Scott. STRANGERS Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman play a couple whose remote home is besieged by masked attackers. FRED CLAUS Overshadowed by his brother Nicholas/Santa (Paul Giamatti), Fred (Vince Vaughn) turns to crime in a comedy with Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey. THIS CHRISTMAS Nia Long and Delroy Lindo feature in a comedy set during a family reunion.
DECEMBER 7 THE GOLDEN COMPASS Together again after The Invasion (see October 12, above), Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman star in Chris Weitz’s effects-driven adventure based on Philip Pullman’s best-selling novel, published here as Northern Lights. YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH Francis Ford Coppola’s first film as a director in 10 years is a romantic mystery set in pre-war 1930s Europe. Starring Tim Roth, Alexandra Maria Lara and Bruno Ganz. THE KILLING OF JOHN LENNON Andrew Piddington’s film explores the psyche of Mark Chapman (Jonas Ball) who murdered the ex-Beatle in December 1980.
DECEMBER 14 BEE MOVIE In the new DreamWorks animated comedy, Jerry Seinfeld provides the voice of a bee (named Barry B Benson) falling for a florist (Renée Zellweger). MR MAGORIUM’S WONDER EMPORIUM Dustin Hoffman plays the 243-year-old owner of a store where the toys come to life when infused by his spirit. Natalie Portman is the very much younger manager. THE AIR I BREATHE Jieho Lee’s drama interlinks the fates of a gambler (Forest Whitaker), a gangster (Brendan Fraser), a doctor (Kevin Bacon) and a pop star (Sarah Michelle Gellar). With Andy Garcia, Julie Delpy and Emile Hirsch. ENCHANTED Amy Adams, Susan Sarandon, Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden lead the cast of Disney’s partly animated romantic comedy in which a young princess is banished to present-day Manhattan.
DECEMBER 21 PS I LOVE YOU Hilary Swank reunites with Freedom Writers director Richard LaGravenese for the movie of Cecilia Ahern’s novel. Swank plays the grieving widow finding messages left by her husband (Gerard Butler) to ease her pain. ST TRINIAN’S The 1950s British comedy series set at a girls’ school gets an updating with Rupert Everett in a dual role (one as the headmistress). Russell Brand and Girls Aloud also feature. ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS The cartoon characters move in with a struggling songwriter (Jason Lee) and become a musical sensation with his songs, but fame goes to their heads.
DECEMBER 26 THE KITE RUNNER In Marc Foster’s film, shot in the Dari dialect with a cast of unknowns, an Afghan immigrant returns from the US to Kabul in search of his childhood friend. BALLS OF FURY A ping-pong tournament is the setting for a comedy spoof with Dan Fogler and Christopher Walken.
DECEMBER 28 MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS Wong Kar-wai’s visually stylish English-language debut stars singer Norah Jones (see cover photograph with Jude Law) as a lovelorn waitress who’s as naive as the film itself.
Release dates are subject to change
Left: Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman in Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium; below left: Ray Winstone and Anthony Hopkins in Beowulf; Below: Jude Law in Sleuth