IV No. 11
publication of the National Association of Theatre Owners
in In Focus
of Richard Nixon
Drama, set in 1974, about a paranoid furniture salesman
who embarks on a plan to kill the 37th president.
Based on the true story of Samuel Byck. Niels Mueller
makes his feature directorial debut from a screenplay
by Mueller (“Tadpole”) and Kevin Kennedy.
With Sean Penn (“Mystic River,” “It’s
All About Love”), Naomi Watts (“I Heart
Huckabees”), Don Cheadle (“The United
States of Leland,” “After the Sunset,” “Hotel
Rwanda,” “Ocean’s Twelve”),
Jack Thompson (“Star Wars: Episode II – Attack
of the Clones”), Nick Searcy (“Runaway
Jury”) and Brad Henke (“The Thirteenth
Floor”). Flat. 105 min. R: Language; a scene
of graphic violence. Dec. 29 in New York and Los
and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Mandarin- and French-language drama about a young
Chinese intellectual who, during Mao’s Cultural
Revolution, is sent to live in a rural village – where
he falls in love with a seamstress who shares his
passion for forbidden Western literature. Based
on the novel by Dai Sijie. Written and directed
by Sijie and Nadine Perront. With Zhou Xun (“Beijing
Bicycle”), Kun Chen , Ye Liu (“Lan
Yu,” “Purple Butterfly”) Wang
Shuangbao (“Blind Shaft”), Cong Zhijun
(“Devils on the Doorstep”). Scope.
112 min. Dec. 3. Empire.
As the vampire slayer Blade flees the federal authorities
who believe him to be a serial murderer, the vampire
community resurrects Dracula, said to be the most
powerful bloodsucker of them all. Returnees from
parts one and two include screenwriter David S.
Goyer and actors Wesley Snipes (“Undisputed”)
and Kris Kristofferson (“Silver City”).
Goyer, who previously helmed the direct-to-video
feature “Zigzag”, makes his big-screen
directorial debut. Newcomers to the series include
Jessica Biel (“Cellular”), Ryan Reynolds
(“Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle”),
Parker Posey (“Laws of Attraction”),
Eric Bogosian (“Wonderland”), Natasha
Lyonne (“Die, Mommie, Die!”), Patton
Oswalt (“Taxi”), James Remar (“The
Girl Next Door”), Callum Keith Rennie (“The
Butterfly Effect”), Ron Selmour (“The
Chronicles of Riddick”), Haili Page (“We
Don’t Live Here Anymore”), Francoise
Yip (“The Pledge”), Scott Heindl (“I,
Robot”), Steve Braun (“Harold and Kumar
Go to White Castle”), John Michael Higgins
(“A Mighty Wind”), Dominic Purcell
(“Equilibrium”), Cascy Beddow (“Scooby
Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed”) and wrestling
icon Michael Paul “Triple H” LeVesque.
Scope. 106 min. R: Strong, pervasive vampire violence
and gore; language; brief sexuality. Dec. 10. New
Japanese-language drama about a young man who resists
the customary arranged marriage planned by his
parents to save his true love, who insists her
life cannot go on without him. Written and directed
by Takeshi Kitano (“Kikujiro,” “Brother,” “Zatôichi”).
With Tsutomu Takeshige (“Zatôichi”),
Miho Kanno, Hidetoshi Nishijim, Tatsuya Mihashi
and Kyôko Fukada. Scope. 114 min. Dec. 10
in New York. Palm.
Drama about 16-year-old who finds himself running
with a much more affluent crowd when his cocaine-addicted
mother is invited to move onto the estate of her
wealthy, much-older boyfriend. Based on the novel
by Dirk Wittenborn. Directed by Griffin Dunne (“Practical
Magic,” “Lisa Picard is Famous”)
from a screenplay by Wittenborn. With Anton Yelchin
(“Hearts in Atlantis”), Diane Lane
(“Under the Tuscan Sun”), Donald Sutherland
(“Cold Mountain”), Kristen Stewart
(“Catch That Kid,” “Undertow”),
Chris Evans (“Cellular”) and Christopher
Shyer (“The Core”). Dec. 24 in New
York and Los Angeles; wider Jan. 14. Lions Gate.
of Flying Daggers
Mandarin-language drama, set in ninth-century China,
about an undercover police captain tasked with
capturing a rebel group’s assumed leader,
a brothel worker. The “Hero” team of
director Zhang Yimou and screenwriters Li Feng & Wang
Bin reunite. With Takeshi Kaneshiro (“Returner”),
Andy Lau (“Infernal Affairs”), Zhang
Ziyi (“Hero,” “Purple Butterfly”)
and Song Dandan. Also known as “Shi Mian
Mai Fu.” Scope. 119 min. Dec. 10. Sony Pictures
the Realms of the Unreal
Documentary about the life of psychologically fascinating,
now-famous outsider artist and Chicago janitor
Henry Drager, whose death led to the discovery
of his allegorical illustrated children’s
fantasy novel “In the Realms of the Unreal.” Featuring
interviews, archival photos and animated sequences
based on Drager’s original illustrations.
Directed by Jessica Yu (TV’s “American
Dreams”). Flat. 82 min. Dec. 22 in New
The Phantom of the Opera
Musical drama about a disfigured recluse compelled
to woo the woman of his dreams. The big-screen
version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s (“Evita”)
monster Broadway hit, based on the oft-filmed
novel by Gaston Leroux (“Balaoo”).
Written and directed by Joel Schumacher (“Phone
Booth,” “Veronica Guerin”).
With Gerard Butler (“Timeline”),
Emmy Rossum (“The Day After Tomorrow”),
Minnie Driver (“Ella Enchanted”),
Patrick Wilson (“The Alamo”), Miranda
Richardson (“The Prince & Me”),
Ciarán Hinds (“The Statement”),
Simon Callow (“Bright Young Things”),
Victor McGuire (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking
Barrels”), Murray Melvin (“The Emperor’s
New Clothes”), Kevin McNally (“De-Lovely”)
and James Fleet (“Charlotte Gray”).
Scope. 103 min. PG-13: Brief violent images.
Dec. 25 limited, wider Jan. 21. Warner Bros.
Biography of the reclusive and eccentric businessman,
inventor, pilot and filmmaker Howard Hughes,
who in the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s transformed
a considerable inheritance into one of the era’s
largest fortunes. Directed by Martin Scorsese
(“Bringing Out the Dead,” “Gangs
of New York”) from a screenplay by John
Logan (“The Time Machine,” “Star
Trek: Nemesis,” “The Last Samurai”).
With Leonardo DiCaprio (“Catch me If You
Can”) as Hughes, Cate Blanchett (“Coffee
and Cigarettes” , “The Life Aquatic
with Steve Zissou”) as Katherine Hepburn,
Frances Conroy (“Catwoman”) as Kit
Hepburn, Kate Beckinsale (“Van Helsing”)
as Ava Gardner, No Doubt vocalist Gwen Stefani
as Jean Harlow, Adam Scott (“Torque”)
as Johnny Meyer, Kelli Garner (“Love Liza”)
as Faith Domergue, Alec Baldwin (“The Last
Shot”) as Juan Trippe, Danny Huston (“Silver
City,” “Birth”) as Jack Frye,
John C. Reilly (“Criminal”) as Noah
Dietrich, Matt Ross (“Down With Love”)
as Glenn Odekirk, Ian Holm (“Garden State”)
as the fictitious Prof. Fitz, Brent Spiner (“Star
Trek: Nemesis”) as Robert Gross, Alan Alda
(“What Women Want”) as Sen. Ralph
Owen Brewster, Edward Herrmann (“Intolerable
Cruelty”) as Joseph Breen, Stanley DeSantis
(“The Man Who Wasn’t There,” “Die
Mommie Die”) as Louis B. Mayer, Amy Sloan
(“Head in the Clouds”) as Hughes’ mother
Allene and Nellie Sciutto (“The Closet”)
as Nadine Henley. Also with Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man
2,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve
Zissou”). PG-13: Thematic elements; sexual
content; nudity; language; a crash sequence.
Dec. 17. Miramax.
Bollywood-musical interpretation of Jane Austen’s
18th-century novel “Pride and Prejudice,” this
time about a worldly and wealthy Californian who
comes to India and develops a contentious relationship
with a small-town local determined to marry for love.
The “What’s Cooking?”-”Bend
it Like Beckham” team of writer-director Gurinder
Chadha and screenwriter Paul Mayeda Berges reunite.
With Martin Henderson (“Torque”), Aishwarya
Rai (“Devdas”), Daniel Gillies (“Spider-Man
2”), Naveen Andrews (“Rollerball”),
Namrata Shirodkar and Indira Varma (“The Sixth
Happiness”). Dec. 25 in New York and Los Angeles.
Drama about two couples, and the tumultuous events
that unfold after two members of the quartet
have an affair with each other. Based on the
play by Patrick Marber (“Dealer’s
Choice”). Directed by Mike Nichols (“The
Birdcage,” “Primary Colors,” “What
Planet Are You From?”) from a screenplay
by Marber. With Julia Roberts (“Mona Lisa
Smile,” “Ocean’s Twelve”),
Jude Law (“I Heart Huckabees,” “Alfie,” “The
Aviator”), Natalie Portman (“Garden
State”), Clive Owen (“King Arthur”)
and Michael Haley (“Joe Somebody”).
Flat. 98 min. R: Sequences of graphic sexual
dialogue, nudity/sexuality; language. Dec. 3.
Comedy about television’s quirky, misfit
inner-city cartoon kids, and what happens when
they find themselves transported into the real
world. Based on the inveterate Saturday morning
cartoon TV series created by Bill Cosby. Directed
by Joel Zwick (“Second Sight,” “My
Big Fat Greek Wedding”) from a screenplay
by Cosby, Charles Kipps and Lowell Ganz (“Where
the Heart Is,” “National Treasure”).
With Kenan Thompson (“Barbershop 2: Back
in Business”) as the title character, Marques
Houston (“You Got Served”) as Dumb
Donald, Jermaine Williams (“Bulworth”)
as Mush Mouth, Aaron Frazier (“House of Sand
and Fog”) as Weird Harold, Keith Robinson
(TV’s “Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue”)
as Bill, Jeremy Suarez (“The Ladykillers”)
as Russell, Shedrack Anderson III as Rudy, Omarion
Grandberry (“You Got Served”) as Reggie,
Farnsworth Bentley (“Honey”) as Derek
and Kyla Pratt (“Dr. Dolittle 2”) as
Doris. Dec. 25. Fox.
Drama based on the true story of Rwanda hotel manager
Paul Rusesabagina, who put his life in danger when
he decided to house over 1,000 refugees during
the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis. Directed by Terry
George (“Some Mother’s Son”)
from a screenplay by George and Keir Pearson. With
Don Cheadle (“The United States of Leland,” “After
the Sunset,” “The Assassination of
Richard Nixon,” “Ocean’s 12”),
Nick Nolte (“Hulk”), Sophie Okonedo
(“Dirty Pretty Things”), Joaquin Phoenix
(“Ladder 49,” “It’s All
About Love”) and Antonio David Lyons (“Masked
and Anonymous”). Dec. 22 limited. MGM.
Drama, set in 1940s Europe, about a 12-year-old
concentration camp escapee who makes a long journey
to Denmark. Based on the novel “North to
Freedom” by Anne Holm. Written and directed
by Paul Feig (TV’s “Freaks & Geeks”).
With Jim Caviezel (“Final Cut”), Joan
Plowright (“Bringing Down the House”),
Ben Tibber, Paco Reconti (“The Passion of
the Christ”), Maria Bonnevie (“Reconstruction”),
Silvia De Santis (“Artemisia”) and
Paul Feig (“Stealing Harvard”). Flat.
95 min. PG: Thematic elements; violent content.
Dec 3. Lions Gate.