Set Your Sights on the List

OPENING FRIDAY

The Eel. A paroled killer and a suicidal woman establish a poignant relationship in a small village. Directed by Shohei Imamura ("Black Rain"). (New Yorker Films)

Esmeralda Comes by Night. Jaime Humberto Hermosillo's satire centers on a brazen bigamist (Maria Rojo) so charming that her current and future husbands rally to free her from jail. (Fine Line)

Lilian's Story. Ruth Cracknell plays a woman who emerges from 40 years in an institution to reclaim her life and cleanse her memories. (Phaedra Cinema)

One True Thing. Anna Quindlen's novel is the basis for this story about a woman (Renee Zellweger) helping her parents (Meryl Streep and William Hurt) through a crisis. (Universal)

Permanent Midnight. Ben Stiller stars in this adaptation of Jerry Stahl's autobiography about the rise and fall of a television writer. With Elizabeth Hurley, Janeane Garofalo and Maria Bello. (Artisan Entertainment)

Rush Hour. Havoc ensues when rogue LAPD detective Chris Tucker is assigned to keep Hong Kong cop Jackie Chan away from the FBI investigation of a kidnapping. (New Line)

Six-String Samurai. Guitar-slinger and sword fighter Jeffrey Falcon seeks to succeed Elvis as the King of Vegas in this post-apocalyptic adventure. (Palm Pictures/Manga Entertainment).

A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries. The Merchant Ivory team adapted the memoirs of Kaylie Jones about life in Paris with her expatriate novelist father James Jones. Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Hershey star. (October Films)

SEPT. 25

Chicago Cab. Will Kern adapted his play "Hellcab" for this look at a taxi driver (Paul Dillon) and his fares over a long Christmas holiday. (Castle Hill)

Clay Pigeons. Montana gas jockey Joaquin Phoenix's affair with his best friend's wife triggers a murder frame-up. (Gramercy)

Just Write. Tour bus driver Jeremy Piven poses as a screenwriter to impress actress Sherilyn Fenn. (Heartland Films Releasing)

Lolita. Adrian Lyne's version of the Nabokov classic moves from cable to theaters. (Samuel Goldwyn Co.)

Monument Ave. Denis Leary and his longtime collaborator, director Ted Demme, team with writer Mike Armstrong to tell a story of intrigue, loyalty and betrayal among the working-class Irish of Charlestown, Mass. (Lions Gate)

Pecker. John Waters, the taste-maker of tastelessness, writes and directs the saga of a sandwich shop worker who suddenly becomes an art-world star. (Fine Line)

Ronin. John Frankenheimer directs Robert De Niro and Stellan Skarsgard in a thriller about an international intelligence team and a dangerous mission. (United Artists)

Shadrach. Susanna Styron co-wrote and directed this adaptation of her father William Styron's short story about a boy and an elderly former slave in Depression-era Virginia. (Columbia)

Skin and Bone. A look at the occupational hazards faced by three young men who enact sexual fantasies for a wealthy clientele. (Your de Fete Films)

Urban Legend. Campus killings may or may not be linked to a fabled multiple murder of 30 years ago. Student Alicia Witt and her friends close in on the dangerous truth. (TriStar)

SEPTEMBER TBA

La Sentinelle. A mysterious shrunken head is at the center of the intrigue in French director Arnold Desplechin's Cold War allegory. (Strand)

Welcome to Woop Woop. "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" director Stephan Elliott returns to the outback, where an isolated town is ruled by Rodgers & Hammerstein aficionado Daddy-O (Rod Taylor). One of his rules: No one leaves. (Goldwyn Films)

OCT. 2

The Alarmist. David Arquette exploits suburban paranoia as a door-to-door alarm salesman employed by scheming Stanley Tucci and smitten with single mom Kate Capshaw. (Avalanche Releasing)

Antz. Drone Woody Allen desires princess Sharon Stone in a story of individuality and conformity in a Central Park ant colony. Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman and Jennifer Lopez are among the other actors providing voices for the computer-generated insects. (DreamWorks)

Biker Dreams. Metallica provides the musical roar in director Adam Berman's documentary of the Harley-Davidson subculture. (Castle Hill)

Dee Snider's StrangeLand. Mr. Twisted Sister wrote the script and stars as a madman who lures teens to cyberspace and a sorry fate. (Raucous Releasing)

The Impostors. Stanley Tucci follows his "Big Night" with the adventures of two actors who inadvertently stow away on a ship rife with intrigue. Tucci also stars, along with several other "Big Night" alumni. (Fox Searchlight)

Life of Jesus. Unemployed and aimless rural French youths and an Arab immigrant form the ingredients for tragedy in Bruno Dumont's drama. (Fox Lorber)

A Night at the Roxbury. That's the goal of the Butabi brothers (Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan), but the doormen at the trendy Hollywood club stand in their way in this adaptation of the "Saturday Night Live" sketch. (Paramount)

The Souler Opposite. L.A.'s comedy club scene and Jerry Brown's '92 presidential campaign are key settings in the turbulent romance of Barry Singer and Thea Douglas. (Buffalo Jump Productions)

What Dreams May Come. Ron Bass ("Rain Man") sets his romantic drama in the afterlife, where Robin Williams goes through hell (literally) to bring back the woman he loves. Annabella Sciorra, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Max Van Sydow also star; Vincent Ward directs. (PolyGram)

OCT. 9

Bad Manners. Two academic couples engage in a psychological tug-of-war during a long weekend in New England. (Phaedra Cinema)

The Celebration. Director and co-writer Thomas Vintenberg stages a 60th birthday party for a patriarch whose family uses the occasion to spill some shocking secrets. (October Films)

Central Station. The story of a Rio de Janeiro woman and a boy seeking his father in the remote Northeast is a metaphor for Brazil's search for its own roots. (Sony Pictures Classics)

Fantastic Planet. It's the 25th anniversary of the animated allegory, so it's back in a new 35-mm print. (CQN Releasing)

Hit Me. An eclectic cast including Philip Baker Hall, William H. Macy and the late Haing S. Ngor (in his final film) populates writer Denis Johnson's adaptation of noir hero Jim Thompson's novel "Swell-Looking Babe." (Castle Hill)

Holy Man. Eddie Murphy plays a televangelist who links his crusade to a home shopping channel. Jeff Goldblum, Kelly Preston, Robert Loggia and Jon Cryer co-star. (Touchstone)

The Last Big Thing. Writer-director Dan Zukovic also stars as an L.A. culture subversive with a bogus publication and a knack for insulting his interview subjects. (Stratosphere Entertainment)

Love Is the Devil. Derek Jacobi stars as flamboyant English artist Francis Bacon and George Dyer as the thief who becomes his model and lover. (Strand)

The Mighty. Two young outcasts team up with comedic and inspirational results. The cast includes Sharon Stone, Kieran Culkin and Gillian Anderson. (Miramax)

One Tough Cop. Stephen Baldwin and Chris Penn play New York officers entangled in conflicts surrounding a high-profile crime. Based on the autobiography of former policeman Bo Dietl. (Stratosphere Entertainment)

Practical Magic. Executive producer Sandra Bullock stars, and Griffin Dunne directs this version of Alice Hoffman's novel about two New England sisters with a gift for guiding fate. (Warner Bros.)

Some Nudity Required. Former Roger Corman music supervisor Odette Springer interviews her old boss and other actors and filmmakers in this exploration of the B-movie slasher-action genre. (Seventh Art)

T. Rex--Back to the Cretaceous. Peter Horton, Kari Coleman and Liz Stauber in the story of a teenager who's transported back to the world of dinosaurs (presented in full Imax size).

OCT. 14

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie. John Goodman, Eric Idle, Bob Newhart, Richard Simmons and Whoopi Goldberg give voices to the characters in this animated and expanded story of the red-nosed reindeer. (GoodTimes Films)

OCT. 16

Apt Pupil. Bryan Singer ("The Usual Suspects") directs Ian McKellen as a fugitive Nazi war criminal and Brad Renfro as the teenager who discovers and blackmails him. Based on Stephen King's novella. (TriStar)

Beloved. Jonathan Demme directs Oprah Winfrey as a former slave in this adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel. (Touchstone)

Bride of Chucky. Brad Dourif reprises his role as the voice of Chucky in this sequel to "Child's Play," wherein the diabolical doll finds a mate and looks for human bodies to occupy. (Universal)

Cannibal! The Musical. Before Trey Parker and Matt Stone of "South Park" fame played "BASEketball," they cooked up this 1996 spoof. (Troma)

Killer Condom. H.R. Giger served as special-effects consultant in this horror comedy about a homicidal prophylactic. (Troma)

Slam. A young man (Saul Williams) uses his gift as a poet-rapper to survive his incarceration and discover himself. Beautiful writing instructor Sonja Sohn also helps. (Trimark)

OCT. 21

Shattered Image. William Baldwin and Anne Parillaud star for Portuguese indie director Raul Ruiz ("Genealogies of a Crime"). (Lions Gate)

OCT. 23

All the Rage. A gay man's obsessive pursuit of perfection is the focus of this satirical study. (Your de Fete Films)

Home Fries. An eccentric mother, two brothers and the woman the boys are obsessed with are the principals in an offbeat comedy starring Drew Barrymore, Catherine O'Hara, Luke Wilson, Jake Busey and Shelly Duvall. (Warner Bros.)

The Inheritors. An eccentric farmer's spiteful will triggers tension and conflict in rural Austria of the early '30s. (Stratosphere Entertainment)

Life Is Beautiful (La Vita e Bella). The Grand Jury Prize winner at Cannes tells the story of a childlike man (Roberto Benigni, who also co-wrote and directed) forced to face the mounting horror of World War II. (Miramax)

Orgazmo. Trey Parker wrote, directed and stars as a pious Mormon-turned-porn-star who must rescue his kidnapped girlfriend. (October Films)

Pleasantville. Two teens take '90s 'tude back to the '50s when they're mysteriously trapped in a black-and-white world. The comedy from director Gary Ross' (screenwriter of "Big" and "Dave") stars Joan Allen, William H. Macy and Jeff Daniels. (New Line)

Soldier. Obsolete galactic warrior Kurt Russell defends a group of colonists on a remote planet. (Warner Bros.)

OCT. 30

A Little Bit of Soul. Two scientists competing for funding for their eternal youth research are given a hellish time by the disturbed husband (Geoffrey Rush) of their potential benefactor. (Phaedra Cinema)

American History X. Edward Norton, Edward Furlong and Fairuza Balk in a drama about a man dealing with the consequences of bigotry and violence. (New Line)

John Carpenter's Vampires. James Woods plays a vampire slayer who's put to the test by a 600-year-old adversary (and his acolytes) in the New Mexico desert. (Columbia)

Living Out Loud. Elevator operator Danny DeVito falls in love with divorcee Holly Hunter in a romantic comedy written and directed by Richard LaGravenese, whose script credits include "The Fisher King" and "The Bridges of Madison County." (New Line)

Talk of Angels. Political and sexual passions boil over for an Irish governess (Polly Walker) and the son (Vincent Perez) of an aristocratic family in Spain on the brink of civil war. (Miramax)

OCTOBER TBA

Detroit 9000. Reissue of 1973 film starring Alex Rocco and Hari Rhodes as a mismatched team of cops investigating a robbery that has escalated the Motor City's racial tensions. (Rolling Thunder)

The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave. In his film debut, the deadpan daredevil (Bob Einstein) attempts to open a school for would-be fall guys. (MGM)

Hands on a Hard Body. Director S.R. Bindler visits a Texas endurance test in which the last contestant left standing with a hand on the truck gets to drive it off. (Legacy Releasing)

Happiness. Jane Adams, Lara Flynn Boyle and Cynthia Stevenson are the three sisters at the center of the study of suburban dysfunction from writer-director Todd Solondz ("Welcome to the Dollhouse"). (Good Machine)

Hard Core Logo. A legendary Vancouver punk band undertakes a reunion tour that brings its members up against some hard truths. (Rolling Thunder)

The Sticky Fingers of Time. A time-traveling pulp novelist from the '50s and a confused '90s woman bond for genre-crossing adventure and a nod to lesbian chic. (Strand)

NOV. 4

Belly. Music video director Hype Williams' feature film debut is an urban drama. (Artisan)

Gods and Monsters. Writer-director Bill Condon's speculative account of the last days of "Frankenstein" director James Whale (Ian McKellen), who killed himself at his Pacific Palisades home in 1957. (Lions Gate)

NOV. 6

The Big Chill. The 15th anniversary reissue of the boomer benchmark. (Columbia)

The Cruise. Eccentric New York tour bus orator Timothy "Speed" Levitch is the subject of Bennett Miller's documentary. (Artisan Entertainment)

Elizabeth. Cate Blanchett stars as Elizabeth I in director Shekhar Kapur's period drama. (Gramercy)

I'll Be Home for Christmas. Jonathan Taylor Thomas must hitchhike across the country in a Santa get-up or lose the Porsche his dad has promised him. (Walt Disney)

A Letter From Death Row. Rock singer Bret Michaels wrote, produced, co-directs and stars in a suspense thriller about a condemned murderer. (Showcase Entertainment)

La Separation. Christian Vincent explores the complexities of the widening gulf between a husband and wife (Isabelle Huppert and Daniel Auteuil). (Phaedra Cinema)

The Siege. Denzel Washington, Annette Bening and Bruce Willis (FBI agent, CIA officer and Army general, respectively) form an uneasy alliance as they battle an outbreak of terrorism in New York. (Fox)

Steam: The Turkish Bath. When a Roman designer is bequeathed a traditional steam bath in Istanbul, he enters a new and sensuous realm. (Strand)

Ten Benny. A man tries a shortcut to the big time, jeopardizing his friendships and his future. (Palisades Pictures)

Velvet Goldmine. Michael Stipe is a co-executive producer of writer-director Todd Haynes' film about a glam-rock icon, portrayed by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. (Miramax)

Waking Ned Devine. The British comedy concerns the uproar in a small town when an unknown resident wins the lottery. (Fox Searchlight)

Water Boy. Adam Sandler plays an inept football team attendant who is found to have an uncanny knack for tackling. (Touchstone)

*

Executive Film Editor: ANNE HURLEY

Capsules by RICHARD CROMELIN

Research by KATHLEEN CRAUGHWELL

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