Casanova (D: Lasse Hallström, 108 min)
Riding high on his Brokeback Mountain press - he seems a shoo-in for an Oscar nod - Heath Ledger stars as the legendary lover in this period comedy. Good news: it was filmed in Venice, which isn't a city you can believably recreate in some studio. Bad news: director Lasse Hallström 's last film, An Unfinished Life, was a huge mess. Since his fine early films, like My Life As A Dog and What's Eating Gilbert Grape, he's specialized in middlebrow Euro schlock like Chocolat. Not that that's giving away anything about Casanova, which also stars Sienna Miller and Lena Olin . Opens December 23. See review December 23 at www.nowtoronto.com/film.
The Ringer (D: Barry W. Blaustein, 94 min)
Jackass creator Johnny Knoxville fakes a handicap to win big at the Special Olympics in the latest comedy produced by the Farrelly Brothers . Let's see how far and high the Farrellys can push their bad taste while maintaining their usual heart. Interesting note: the filmmakers got the approval of reps from the Special Olympics. Also stars Brian Cox and Grey's Anatomy star Katherine Heigl as a Special Olympics volunteer and Knoxville's love interest. Opens December 23. See review December 23 at www.nowtoronto.com/film.
Rumour Has It... (D: Rob Reiner, 96 min)
A touch of intergenerational sex and the possibility of incest are good for a seasonal laugh, right? Maybe that's the explanation behind releasing this comedy on Christmas Day.
Jennifer Aniston plays a woman who learns that the book and film The Graduate may have been inspired by her own family. Ergo, her grandmother ( Shirley MacLaine ) and her mom ( Kathy Bates ) may have slept with the same guy ( Kevin Costner ). And who knows about her own parental history, or that of her about-to-be-married sister ( Mena Suvari )?
Rob Reiner hasn't had a hit since 1995's The American President. And we're not sure there's enough post-Brangelina sympathy for Aniston to draw crowds away from that other domestic comedy, The Family Stone. Opens December 25. Screened after press time - see review December 23 at www.nowtoronto.com/film.