Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in The Aviator ? Well, Martin Scorsese thinks it's a good idea, along with casting Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner and Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn. I assume there's a lot of period airplane footage. This archetypal Hollywood story was filmed on location - in Montreal. It hits screens December 17.
The ultra-low-budget time travel thriller Primer from first-time writer/director Shane Carruth was one of the hits of Sundance and a sleeper hit at the Toronto festival. Four entrepreneurs inadvertently invent a machine that allows them to alter time. It's like The Butterfly Effect minus Ashton Kutcher bleeding from his ears. Look for an October release.
The A Team
From Trey Parker and Matt Stone , the creators of South Park, Team America: World Police is a story of derring-do and all-American heroism - cast entirely with dolls. According to Stone, that's the joke in this parody of monumental Jerry Bruckheimer-style action movies. (What? Gone In Sixty Seconds wasn't cast with puppets?) Let's hope there are others. Opens October 15.
Shrek 2 notwithstanding, The Incredibles remains one of the most anticipated animated film releases of the year, the latest from Pixar , which has never made a bad film. A family of superheroes hiding in the witness protection program from a super-villain are called back into duty. Their years in hiding have not, apparently, enhanced their superpowers. Great clips on Pixar.com. It hits screens November 2.
From writer/director Bill Condon (Gods And Monsters) comes Kinsey , a portrait of pioneering American sexologist and grand obsessive Alfred Kinsey ( Liam Neeson ) that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. The outstanding supporting cast includes Laura Linney , Peter Sarsgaard and Oliver Platt . Opening dates are uncertain, but it should surface in late November.
Phoenix rises again
The Flight Of The Phoenix is one of the season's more intriguing remakes. The mid-60s original starred James Stewart and a rough-and-tumble group stranded in the desert when their plane crashes. The Stewart part is taken here by Dennis Quaid , always an interesting choice, though it's hard to be sure about writer/director John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines) . He has a way to go to match the macho grit of original director Robert Aldrich, who followed Flight with one of the ultimate guy movies, The Dirty Dozen. See how Moore fares when the film opens November 24.
After the unanticipated success of Hero, one of the rare movies to hold the number-one box office spot for two weeks this summer (admittedly against inferior competition), the distributors aren't sitting on Zhang Yimou 's new wuxia film, House Of Flying Daggers , which stars Zhang Ziyi as a blind dancer working in a brothel who may also be a leader of a rebel force trying to overthrow the emperor. This is a film of great moments rather than a great film, but Zhang's visual sense never lets us down, and he has a unique setting for his climax - the birch forests of the Ukraine. Opens December 3.
Around the time of their ill-fated remake of Solaris, an interviewer asked director Steven Soderbergh and star George Clooney what they'd do if Solaris tanked. The answer was Ocean's Twelve , and here it is, a sequel to a remake that outstripped the original in elegance (easy to do). It brings back Ocean's Eleven's jaw-dropping cast - Clooney, Brad Pitt , Julia Roberts , Matt Damon , Andy Garcia , Don Cheadle - and adds Catherine Zeta-Jones and Robbie Coltrane as the show moves to Europe. Opens December 10. email@example.com