Sweeney Todd's design
We're not sure that Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter can do justice to Stephen Sondheim's musical about the fabled Demon Barber of Fleet Street and his pie-making Cockney lover. But with director Tim Burton at the helm, we can be sure the film will at least look good. Bloody good, in fact. December 21.
Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan in I'm Not There
When casting was announced for Todd Haynes's far from safe biopic of the shaggy troubadour, Blanchett's name was the big wild card. But during TIFF, the Oscar-winning chameleon got more buzz for her Dylan in drag than for her return trip to the screen as Elizabeth I. The YouTube clips are astonishing. November 30.
The romance scenes in Lars And The Real Girl
Ryan Gosling (in the argyle sweater) is best known for The Notebook's onscreen make-out sessions with girlfriend Rachel McAdams. His leading lady in this dark comedy isn't quite so photogenic - or even made of flesh and blood. Her name's Bianca, and she's, like, totally plastic. But count on Gosling to make their scenes together more than skin deep. Date tba.
An animated Amy Adams in Enchanted
In her own Cinderella-like story, Adams beat out 200 other women to play the part of the cartoon princess who enters real-life, live-action Manhattan. No wonder. As she showed in her Oscar-nominated turn as the optimistic pregnant wife in Junebug (rent it, please), she's got an incandescence that can make you believe in fairy tales. We smell commercial breakout. November 21.
The Robert Redford-Meryl Streep reunion in Lions For Lambs
In their last big-screen pairing, they shot lions and shampooed each other's hair outside a farm in Africa. There'll be passion of a different sort in this small-l liberal look at the war in Afghanistan, where the craggy-faced Redford plays a college prof and La Streep a reporter interviewing Republican senator Tom Cruise. There is an election coming, right? November 9.
The special effects in The Golden Compass
What to expect from this star-studded (Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig) adaptation of book one of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy? New Line's no stranger to fantasy epics - after all, it bankrolled a little project called The Lord Of The Rings. But director Chris Weitz isn't exactly Peter Jackson. He's more used to dealing with humping pastry (American Pie) than bringing daemons and talking polar bears to realistic life. December 7.
Mark Ruffalo vs. Joaquin Phoenix in Reservation Road
Everyone knows Phoenix (right) can steal scenes with his colt-like intensity, but the shaggy-haired boy/man Ruffalo is one of those quiet, subtle actors who tend to get overlooked. Not here he won't. His turn as the guilt-ridden driver who hits, kills and drives away from Phoenix's son will twist your innards. The pair's confrontations are psychological war games. October 19.
Will Smith in I Am Legend
Everyone loves Smith: movie audiences, studios, men, women. (Okay, maybe not hiphop fans.) He can do comedy, action - even romance. And his movies open huge. In this third screen adaptation of Richard Matheson's sci-fi story about the last man on earth, let's see if Smith can hold the screen solo, sans robots or his cute-as-pie kid. The only caveat? The last time a Smith movie had the word "Legend" in its title, it got stuck in a box office bunker. December 14.
He's delivered jaw-dropping performances in When Night Falls and The Sea Inside, but 2007 is Bardem's year. He's getting major awards buzz for his turn as a demented killer in the Coen brothers' No Country For Old Men (November 9), and he's also starring in Mike Newell's film of Gabriel García Márquez's epic Love In The Time Of Cholera (November 16). He could be saying hola! to the golden guy come February.
Those other toronto film festivals
We're all still recovering from the smorgasbord that was TIFF, but now it's the season for the smaller - and in some ways more interesting - festivals. Mark your calendars with this partial list: ImagineNative (October 17 to 21, www.imaginenative.org); Toronto After Dark Film Fest (October 19 to 25, www.torontoafterdark.com); Planet In Focus (October 24 to 28, www.planetinfocus.org); Rendezvous With Madness (November 8 to 17, www.rendezvouswithmadness.com); and the Reel Asian International Film Festival (November 14 to 18, www.reelasian.com). Those are just the bigger ones.