A change of scenes

Category: 300 News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: January 7, 2007 | Publication: New York Daily News | Author: Jack Mathews
Publication/Article Link:http://www.nydailynews.com/

Late winter and spring films fill a void

Justin Timberlake (l.) stars in 'Alpha Dog'
The French-made CGI-animated adventure 'Arthur and the Invisibles' features Madonna as the voice of Princess Selenia.
Chris Rock and Kerry Washington are a couple dealing with his daydreams of infidelity in 'I Think I Love My Life.'
Normally, movies scheduled for the first months of the year are like stand-ins at a Broadway musical, waiting for the stars to lose their voices so they can have the stage - that is, they're ready to fill the multiplexes soon as interest wanes in the big holiday pictures. Nonetheless, there are still a number of high-profile movies coming up in the mix.

Later this month, Jude Law and Juliette Binoche arrive in director Anthony Minghella's "Breaking and Entering," a drama about the racial tension in a London neighborhood. And Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan star in "Seraphim Falls," an old-fashioned post-Civil War Western.

Anthony Hopkins isn't around, but the Hannibal Lecter series continues with "Hannibal Rising," a prequel about the future cannibal's childhood. Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore are in one romantic comedy, Chris Rock and Kerry Washington star in another, and there are dramas starring the normally light Sandra Bullock and Adam Sandler.

And after this week's "Arthur and the Invisibles," kids can look forward to "Meet the Robinsons," about a smarty-pants kid who sends himself to the future, as well as a computer-generated restart to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.

But no single film can match the interest in the two films in "Grindhouse," a pair of 1970s-style exploitation flicks written and directed - separately, but in the same movie-geek spirit - by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

Here's more information about these and other films scheduled to open between now and early April.

JANUARY

ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES Jan. 12

Luc Besson adapts his own children's book about a 10-year-old boy who enters an underground kingdom. Live action and computer-animation mix with Freddie Highmore and the voices of Madonna, Snoop Dogg, and Robert De Niro.

ALPHA DOG Jan. 12

Nick Cassavetes' suburban crime drama is a combination of public record and speculation about the kidnap and murder of a 15-year-old boy by a drug gang. With Justin Timberlake, Ben Foster, Sharon Stone, and Bruce Willis.

STOMP THE YARD Jan. 12

A troubled youth from L.A.'s South Central is shipped to a black university in Atlanta, where his angry attitude is eroded away by life in a frat and a dance competition. With Columbus Short, Megan Good, Chris Brown.

THE HITCHER Jan. 19

Sean Bean takes over for Rutger Hauer in this remake of the 1986 thriller about a serial killer who stalks the rural highways with his thumb out.

BREAKING AND ENTERING Jan. 26

Anthony Minghella ("The English Patient," "Cold Mountain") wrote and directed this intimate urban drama about a London architect (Jude Law) who begins an affair with the widowed mother (Juliette Binoche) of a Bosnian teen who burglarized his offices. Complicating things is the architect's problems at home with his girlfriend (Robin Wright Penn) and her 13-year-old daughter.

SMOKIN' ACES Jan. 26

Writer-director Joe Carnahan's gangster comedy stars Jeremy Piven as Buddy Aces, a Vegas-style performer and mob insider whose decision to turn state's evidence puts a $1 million bounty on his head. FBI agents Ray Liotta and Ryan Reynolds try to keep Aces from folding. With Andy Garcia, Ben Affleck.

SERAPHIM FALLS Jan. 26

Always a welcome sight to my eyes is a traditional Western, and this sounds like something Clint Eastwood would've made three decades ago. Taking place after the Civil War, it stars Pierce Brosnan as a man on the run from a pack of bounty hunters led by a fiercely determined, grudge-holding Liam Neeson. With Angie Harmon, Anjelica Huston.

CATCH AND RELEASE Jan. 26

Romantic comedy starring Jennifer Garner as a grieving woman who discovers that her dead fiancé was leading a secret life, and that his best friend (Timothy Oliphant), whom she'd found disgusting, is the key to her future happiness. Directed by Susannah Grant (writer of "Erin Brockovich").

BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE Jan. 26

A teenage werewolf falls in love with a young man and has to keep her desire under control or else make the guy a permanent part of the family. With Agnes Bruckner, Hugh Dancy.

THE INVISIBLE Jan. 26

Teen ghost story stars Justin Chatwin as a high school student who finds himself suddenly see-through to everyone around him. Maybe M. Night Shyamalan knows why? With Marsha Gay Harden.

EPIC MOVIE Jan. 26

Spoof of big-budget blockbusters like "Superman Returns," "The Chronicles of Narnia," and "Pirates of the Caribbean" written and directed by two of the six writers of "Scary Movie." With Fred Willard, Kal Penn.

FEBRUARY

BECAUSE I SAID SO Feb. 2

Diane Keaton is a mother trying to save two daughters (Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo) from the troubles she's known, while trying to find the right man for her youngest (Mandy Moore) by advertising in the personals. Seems like Mom has a lot to learn.

THE MESSENGERS Feb. 2

Think of it as "Little Amityville House on the Prairie." A city family moves to a sunflower farm in North Dakota and spirits of past occupants await them. With Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller.

ROGUE Feb. 2

Michael Vartan ("Alias") and Aussie actress Radha Mitchell are up the Black Lagoon without a paddle in this horror thriller about an African tour boat besieged by a giant crocodile.

HANNIBAL RISING Feb. 9

In this prequel, we learn about Hannibal Lecter's early years in the mountains of Eastern Europe that shaped his precise interests and, uh, tastes. With Gaspard Ulliel as Hannibal. Directed by Peter Webber ("Girl with a Pearl Earring").

NORBIT Feb. 9

Eddie Murphy's latest multirole comedy has him playing both a wimpy husband and his obese and horny wife, as well as the Chinese man who adopted him after he was thrown from a moving car as a baby. When he meets Thandie Newton, his whole perspective changes.

MUSIC AND LYRICS Feb. 14

A washed-up '80s pop star (Hugh Grant) is given a chance to write a song for a teen sensation. The bad news: he only writes music, not lyrics. The good news: he has just met Drew Barrymore, as a natural lyric machine. The casting seems perfect for the material.

GHOST RIDER Feb. 16

The first big action film of 2007 cost $120 million and stars Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze, a stunt motorcyclist whose soul is taken over at night by a flaming skulled vigilante named Ghost Rider. To shake his curse and reclaim the love of his life (Eva Mendes), Johnny battles Satan's spawn. The Marvel superhero movie was written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, who also did "Daredevil."

BREACH Feb. 16

Ryan Phillippe is an FBI agent given the assignment of spying on his own boss, Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper), the real-life FBI counter-spy convicted of selling U.S. government secrets to the Russians. With Laura Linney.

BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA Feb. 16

Adapted from Katherine Patterson's award-winning 1977 Newbury book winner, this live-action/CGI Disney movie tells the story of the bond that develops between a boy and girl who create their own magic kingdom in the woods.

THE NUMBER 23 Feb. 23

Joel Schumacher directs this psychological thriller about a man (Jim Carrey) who becomes obsessed with a book titled "The Number 23" and with the number itself, which he believes is leading him to some fated act of violence.

CAPTIVITY Feb. 23

Hostage thriller starring Elisha Cuthbert and Daniel Gillies as a couple who awaken in a cellar, not knowing how they got there or why. Written by veteran frightster Larry Cohen ("It's Alive") and directed by the usually serious Roland Joffé ("The Killing Fields").

BLACK SNAKE MOAN Feb. 23

Samuel L. Jackson is a Southern bluesman who finds a young woman (Christina Ricci) on the road and chains her up in an attempt to drive the sins out of her. With Justin Timberlake. Directed by Craig Brewer ("Hustle & Flow").

THE ASTRONAUT FARMER Feb. 23

Billy Bob Thornton is a former NASA astronaut who takes time out from his second career as a farmer to build a rocket ship in his barn.

RENO 911: MIAMI Feb. 23

The movie from the Comedy Central show about goofball cops in Reno takes place at a police convention that's disrupted by springbreakers and terrorists.

MARCH

ZODIAC March 2

How do you make a satisfying thriller about a serial killer when the killer is never caught? We'll see with David Fincher's adaptation of the nonfiction best seller by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Robert Graysmith, who became the leading authority on the man who calls himself Zodiac. Jake Gyllenhaal is Graysmith. With Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo. At least it's prime territory for Fincher ("Seven").

WILD HOGS March 2

Four suburban buddies (John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy) get themselves some leather jackets and Harleys and hit the road. Complications ensue when they accidentally blow up the New Mexico bar where the Del Fuegos biker gang hangs out.

FULL OF IT March 2

In a bid for attention and popularity, a high-school kid tells some spectacular lies. When the lies start to come true, he's popular, and in trouble.

FAST TRACK March 9

Zach Braff stars in this comedy about an upwardly mobile ad man whose satisfying work and happy marriage are threatened by his wife's competitive, wheelchair-bound childhood friend. With Amanda Peet, Jason Bateman.

REIGN OVER ME March 9

Adam Sandler stars as a man who's lost his family to a tragedy in Mike Binder's drama of depression and the healing power of friendship. When Sandler runs into his college roommate (Don Cheadle), he clings to him like a life vest.

300 March 9

Adapted from Frank Miller's graphic novel and directed by Zack Snyder (2004's "Dawn of the Dead"), this is an epic re-enactment of the 480 B.C. Battle of Thermopylae, where a relative handful of Greeks blocked a mountain pass and delayed the invasion of a million Persian troops. With Gerard Butler. The flashy visuals look like "Sin City" meets "Gladiator."


THE NAMESAKE March 9

Mira Nair adapts Jhumpa Lahiri's novel about the generation gap between a hip, pot-smoking young Indian-American (Kal Penn) and his conservative parents (Mumbai actors Tabu, Irrfan Khan).

I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE March 16

Chris Rock directed and stars in this domestic comedy about a happy but bored married man who starts to question his reasons for fidelity when he gets a visit from a sexy ex. With Kerry Washington.

PREMONITION March 16

Like "Groundhog Day," only not funny, this psychological drama stars Sandra Bullock as a woman who keeps reliving her husband's death in a car crash due to his reappearances. With Julian McMahon.

SHOOTER March 16

Mark Wahlberg, hot off "The Departed," stars in a political thriller about a former Army sniper who is framed for an assassination attempt on the president. Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day") directs.

LUCKY YOU March 16

Eric Bana is a compulsive gambler and social wreck trying to get himself under control for a high-stakes Las Vegas game of Texas Hold 'Em in which he'll have to face the best player in the game - his father (Robert Duvall). With Drew Barrymore. Directed by Curtis Hanson ("L.A. Confidential," "Wonder Boys").

SUNSHINE March 16

Fifty years in the future, a space crew races toward the dying sun to deliver a payload of energy into its core, rekindle its power and save the solar system. With Chris Evans, Cillian Murphy.

THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY March 16

Slapstick romantic comedy about a lovelorn loser (Jason Biggs) who impulsively proposes to a waitress (Isla Fisher), who's such a mess herself, she accepts. Could be a grown-up "American Pie."

SUPERHERO! March 21

David Zucker ("Airplane!", two "Scary Movie" entries) directs his comic aim toward Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and other superheroes of the big screen.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES March 23

Kids loved the clumsy heroics of the turtles on TV. Here they'll be computer-animated and more kick-butt than ever.

THE LAST MIMZY March 23

Adapted from sci-fi writer Lewis Padgett's short story "Mimsy Were the Borogroves," this fable tells the story of two suburban kids who discover a box of educational toys made in the future and sent back in time.

THE COMEBACKS March 23

Sports comedy in which a college football coach (David Koechner) with a lousy win-loss record and a mismatched bunch of recruits vows to turn the program around. A little late for college ball, but ...

THE LOOKOUT March 30

Four years after a near-fatal accident, a down-on-himself bank janitor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets a deceptively friendly guy (Matthew Goode) who needs help robbing his place of employment.

MEET THE ROBINSONS March 30

Computer-animated feature from Disney about a young science whiz who travels into the future, where he meets a family that needs him desperately. With the voices of Angela Bassett and Tom Selleck.

THE REAPING March 30

Horror thriller about a lapsed missionary (Hilary Swank) who travels to the swamps of Louisiana to quash rumors of supernatural phenomena and is soon convinced they are a repeat of the Old Testament's 10 plagues.

BLADES OF GLORY March 30

Will Ferrell and Jon Heder are rival figure skaters who, after being banned from singles competition for brawling during a world-championship event, decide to make their way back into the sport as a pairs team. With Craig T. Nelson.

RESCUE DAWN March 30

Christian Bale is Dieter Dengler in Werner Herzog's docudrama about the German-American pilot who, after being shot down and captured during the Vietnam War, led a POW escape. With Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies.

APRIL

CHARLIE BARTLETT April 4

A rich kid (Anton Yelchin) enrolls in a new school, where he becomes acting shrink to the student body.

THE HOAX April 6

Lasse Hallstrom's comedic treatment of Clifford Irving's spectacular scheme to peddle an "authorized biography" of Howard Hughes in the 1970s - while Hughes was still alive and in no mood to cooperate. With Richard Gere.

GRINDHOUSE April 6

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez team up for this double-feature homage to the days when exploitation films knew what they were doing. Tarantino wrote and directed "Death Proof," starring Kurt Russell as a serial-killer stunt man; Rodriguez wrote and directed "Planet Terror," in which a babe with a machine gun for a leg helps defeat an army of zombies.

THE TV SET April 6

Jake Kasdan wrote and directed this parody of the humiliating process of getting a TV show on the air. With David Duchovny as a man with a pilot and Sigourney Weaver as an exec with balls.

ARE WE DONE YET? April 6

In this sequel to the 2005 hit "Are We There Yet?", newlyweds Ice Cube and Nia Long move their combined family to a large Victorian house in the country.