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Coming Attractions

Here's an annotated rundown of major films opening between now and the end of the year. Dates are subject to change.

NOVEMBER

I Spy: Director Betty Thomas, who turned The Brady Bunch into a hit movie, tries to do the same for the groundbreaking '60s TV show. Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson step into Bill Cosby and Robert Culp's old roles -- only Wilson is the master spy and Murphy is the athlete (a boxer) recruited to find a stolen fighter plane. (Nov. 1)

The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause: Belated sequel to the '94 family hit, with Tim Allen returning as a suburban dad whose reign as Santa Claus will be terminated unless he finds a missus fast -- and gets his son (Eric Lloyd) off the naughty list. (Nov. 1)

Femme Fatale: Brian DePalma directs a French Riviera-set caper with Rebecca Romjin-Stamos and Antonio Banderas that hasn't exactly been wowing 'em on the festival circuit. (Nov. 6)

8 Mile: Eminem makes an electric screen debut as an alienated rapper in a gritty drama set in his native Detroit; Kim Basinger plays his trailer-trash mom. Will this autobiographical opus be another Loving You (Elvis) or Purple Rain (Prince)? (Nov. 8)

Far From Heaven: Director Todd Haynes' bold reinvention of the "women's picture" -- and an elaborate homage to director Douglas Sirk, and a critical smash in Toronto. There's major Oscar buzz surrounding the pic and stars Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid as a couple whose, uh, lifestyle choices set tongues a-wagging in 1950s Connecticut. (Nov. 8)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: For the second term at Hogwarts, this supposedly darker, more action-filled sequel reunites the original stars (Daniel Radcliffe, et al.), writer (Steven Kloves) and director (Chris Columbus), but adds Kenneth Branagh as the new and narcissistic Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Ka-ching! (Nov. 15)

Half Past Dead: Forgotten but not gone, ponytailed tough guy Steven Seagal does battle with Harry Potter -- and a gangsta played by Morris Chestnut. (Nov. 15)

Die Another Day: The latest attempt to update the 40-year-old James Bond franchise includes casting Oscar-winner Halle Berry as a Bond Girl, a cameo by Madonna and a hot director from New Zealand, Lee Tamahori (Kiss the Girls). Fifty-year-old Pierce Brosnan is back in Bond-age, battling Toby Stephens' plot to dominate the world from his headquarters at the North Pole. (Nov. 22)

The Emperor's Club: Kevin Kline goes for the Oscar gold in this Dead Poet's Society-style saga of a devoted prep-school teacher who tries to teach a spoiled senator's son (Emile Hirsch) a thing or two about ethics. (Nov. 22)

Talk to Her: Pedro Almodovar's latest, most serious and most lyrical film almost defies synopsis. For once, he focuses on male protagonists: a pair of guys (Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti) whose lady friends both happen to be comatose. (Nov. 22)

The Quiet American: Oscar-hopeful Michael Caine, as a British correspondent in 1954 Saigon, shares more than drinks with a mysterious American agent (Brendan Fraser). Philip Noyce (A Clear and Present Danger) directs this remake of Graham Greene's story. (Nov. 22)

Friday After Next: Christmas-theme installment of Ice Cube's reefer-fueled franchise. (Nov. 22)

Solaris: Director Steven Soderbergh teams up with George Clooney for another remake, this time of the 1972 Russian cult classic, with Clooney as a shrink who encounters the ghost of his dead wife (Natascha McElhone) on a distant space station. (Nov. 27)

Treasure Planet: Disney's big cartoon of the year combines traditional and computer animation for an outer-space version of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker (Aladdin), with the voices of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Hyde Pierce and Emma Thompson. (Nov. 27)

Adam Sandler's 8 Crazy Nights: For those who haven't had their fill of Sandler in Mr. Deeds and Punch-Drunk Love, here's an animated Adam in a Hanukkah-theme story about a hell-raiser sentenced to coach a kids' basketball team. (Nov. 27)

Extreme Ops: Extreme snowboarder (Devon Sawa) vs. a Serbian war criminal. (Nov. 27)

They: Low-budget supernatural thriller "presented" by Wes Craven and directed by Robert Harmon (The Hitcher). (Nov. 27)

Rabbit Proof Fence: Director Philip Noyce returns to his native Australia for the true story of aboriginals who escaped from government captivity in 1931. (Nov. 29)

DECEMBER

Analyze That: Follow-up to the 1999 hit, with reformed mobster (Robert DeNiro) and shrink (Billy Crystal) recruited as technical advisors on a Sopranos-like TV show about a mobster (Anthony LaPaglia) undergoing analysis. (Dec. 6)

Adaptation: The latest mind-bender from director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, who gave us Being John Malkovich. This time, the main character is Kaufman himself (played by Nicolas Cage), who runs into problems adapting a story by a New Yorker magazine writer (Meryl Streep) about an orchid thief (Chris Cooper). (Dec. 6).

Empire: John Leguizamo as a Latino drug dealer trying to go straight. (Dec. 6).

Equilibrium: Sci-fi set in a future society where drugs are used to suppress emotions. With Christian Bale. (Dec. 6)

Maid in Manhattan: Ralph Fiennes goes from playing the Tooth Fairy in Red Dragon to Prince Charming in this romantic comedy -- about a Senate candidate who romances Jennifer Lopez, unaware she's a chambermaid in the swank Manhattan hotel where he's staying. (Dec. 13)

Star Trek: Nemesis: In what is allegedly the last cruise for Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the Next Generation crew, the space travelers confront yet another threat to the universe, this time on the planet Romulus. Directed by Stuart Baird (U.S. Marshals). (Dec. 13)

The Guys: Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia shine as a writer and a fire captain struggling to compose eulogies for his men who perished in the World Trade Center. Weaver's husband, Jim Simpson, directed this moving version of the off-off-Broadway hit. (Dec. 13)

The Hot Chick: A teenage cheerleader wakes up one morning and finds she's turned into Rob Schneider. Producer Adam Sandler makes a cameo appearance in this crude-looking comedy. (Dec. 13)

About Schmidt: Jack Nicholson aims for a record 13th Oscar nomination in this well-received comedy-drama about a new retiree who struggles with the loss of his wife and his daughter's impending marriage to a nitwit waterbed salesman, not to mention a nude and frisky Kathy Bates. Directed by Alexander Payne (Election). (Dec. 13)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: The unfortunately titled second part of Tolkien's trilogy has the hobbits, dwarfs and elves back for another round of battles for Middle Earth. Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and the rest star again under the direction of Peter Jackson, who is no doubt eyeing more Oscar nominations this time around. (Dec. 13).

Gangs of New York: Finally. Martin Scorsese's long-delayed dark 19th-century epic stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day Lewis, Cameron Diaz and Jim Broadbent. Originally promised for last Christmas, it was supposedly postponed out of respect for post-9/11 sensibilities. (Dec. 20)

Two Weeks Notice: That's what lawyer Sandra Bullock gives her wealthy but crazy corporate tycoon boss (Hugh Grant) in this Manhattan-set romantic comedy. The directing debut of Marc Lawrence, who wrote Miss Congeniality. (Dec. 20)

The Wild Thornberrys Movie: Paramount's most ambitious-looking animated film in decades is yet another Nickelodeon transfer, a rousing adventure about a family of wildlife photographers in Africa. (Dec. 20)

Antwone Fisher: Denzel Washington's directing debut had everyone talking across-the-board Oscar nominations when it debuted in Toronto. Newcomer Derek Luke is superb as the real-life Fisher (who wrote the screenplay), a troubled Navy man who gets his life together with the help of a sympathetic psychiatrist (Washington), with more than a few echoes of Ordinary People. (Dec. 20)

The 25th Hour: Edward Norton gets to atone for Red Dragon and Death to Smoochy by playing a convicted drug dealer spending a few hours with his pals before being sent to jail. Spike Lee directs an ensemble including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson and Anna Paquin. (Dec. 20)

Narc: Ray Liotta gives his strongest performance since GoodFellas as a dirty Detroit cop who recruits a disgraced narcotics officer (Jason Patric) to hunt down his partner's killer. Joe Carnahan's gritty indie makes the similar Training Day look like a Disney flick by comparison. (Dec. 20)

Catch Me If You Can: Leonardo DiCaprio is back with another period saga, playing the real-life Frank Abnagale, who, as a teenager in the '60s, successfully impersonated a pilot and a doctor and passed millions in bad checks. Tom Hanks is the FBI agent on his tail, and the director is some guy named Steven Spielberg. (Dec. 25)

Pinocchio: Roberto Benigni, last seen stepping on people's heads when accepting an Oscar for Life Is Beautiful, plays Carlo Collodi's boy-wannabe puppet under his own direction in this Italian flick, which will be released here in an English-dubbed version. Let's hope he's not too . . . wooden. (Dec. 25)

Chicago: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere -- none previously renowned for their singing or hoofing -- top-line this long-in-the-works adaptation of the 1975 Broadway musical about a sensational trial, previously filmed as the non-musical Roxie Hart with Ginger Rogers in 1943. The director is Rob Marshall, who helmed Annie and Cinderella for TV. The Miramax hype machine is working overtime. We'll see. (Dec. 25)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: George Clooney's directing debut is another flight of fancy from the mind of Being John Malkovich scribe Charlie Kaufman. Indie stalwart Sam Rockwell stars as Gong Show host Chuck Barris, who claims he moonlighted as a CIA hit man. With Clooney, Drew Barrymore and Julia Roberts. (Dec. 27)

Nicholas Nickleby: Hunky Charlie Hunnam (Abandon) as Dickens' eponymous striver in a new version written and directed by Douglas McGrath (Emma). The starry cast includes Nathan Lane, Christopher Plummer, Alan Cumming, Jim Broadbent and Tom Courtenay. (Dec. 27)

The Hours: Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) directs an Oscar-hopeful omnibus tale with episodes focusing on suicidal writer Virginia Woolf (a de-glammed Nicole Kidman), as well as her disaffected counterparts (Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep) in 1950 and present-day Greenwich Village, respectively. With Ed Harris and John C. Reilly. (Dec. 27)

Max: A wealthy Jewish art dealer (John Cusack) in post-World War I Berlin tries to divert a struggling painter named Adolf Hitler (Australian actor Noah Taylor, who's terrific) from politics. Directed by Menno Meyjes. (Dec. 27)

The Pianist: Reputedly Roman Polanski's best film since Rosemary's Baby, this Cannes prize-winner stars Adrian Brody as a real-life Polish composer who survived the Holocaust in Warsaw. (Dec. 27)

Sonny: Nicolas Cage's directing debut, starring James Franco (Spider-Man) as a male prostitute and Brenda Blethyn as his mother.

Love Liza: Philip Seymour Hoffman in a blistering performance as a widower who drowns his grief by sniffing gasoline. Hoffman's brother Gordy won the screenwriting prize at the Sundance festival for this surprising comedy-drama, which also features Kathy Bates. (Dec. 30)

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