It's looking pretty cool

About the list:

This Sneaks list is a snapshot of films expected to open through the end of the year. Dates and other details are subject to change.

Holiday Sneaks:

Capsules compiled by Patrick Day and Kinsey Lowe.

*

Friday

Come Early Morning

Actress Joey Lauren Adams draws heavily on her own life in her writing and directing debut about a small-town working woman (Ashley Judd) who is forced to take a hard look at her commitment-phobic, one-night-stand life when she falls for a new arrival in town (Jeffrey Donovan). With Laura Prepon, Diane Ladd and Scott Wilson. Roadside Attractions

* So? Promising

Copying Beethoven

Ed Harris plays Beethoven in this fictionalized account of his struggles to finish his Ninth Symphony. Battling depression and deafness, the composer reluctantly takes on an aspiring composer (Diane Kruger) to help. With Matthew Goode, Ralph Riach and Bill Stewart. Written by Stephen Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson. Directed by Agnieszka Holland. Myriad Pictures

* So? Dutiful

Broken Sky

Love, sex and jealousy frame the lives of two college students who fall in love, then become involved with other people. With Klaudia Aragon, Fernando Arroyo, Miguel Angel Hoppe and Ignacio Pereda. Written and directed by Julian Hernandez. Strand Releasing

* So? Conventional

Stranger Than Fiction

Will Ferrell, above, plays a mild-mannered IRS auditor who suddenly starts hearing a voice narrating his life. The voice belongs to a bestselling writer (Emma Thompson) who's writing a novel about a mild-mannered IRS auditor but trying to find a way to kill him off. With Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman and Queen Latifah. Written by Zach Helm. Directed by Marc Forster. Columbia

* So? Existentially faux

The Return

Plagued by supernatural visions of a young woman's murder, a trucking company saleswoman (Sarah Michelle Gellar) travels to the woman's hometown to solve the mystery but learns she may be the next victim. With Kate Beahan, Peter O'Brien, Adam Scott and Sam Shepard. Written by Adam Sussman. Directed by Asif Kapadia. Rogue Pictures

* So? Spookily familiar

Climates

Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan casts himself as a middle-aged professor. When his relationship with a younger girlfriend (played by the director's wife, Ebru Ceylan) hits the rocks, he must travel across the country to win her back. Written by Ceylan. Zeitgeist Films

* So? Cold front

A Good Year

Director Ridley Scott re-teams with Russell Crowe, this time in a comedy with the actor as a high-powered investment analyst who meets his match in an American who claims ownership of a vineyard he inherited. With Albert Finney, Abbie Cornish, Marion Cotillard and Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi. Screenplay by Marc Klein, based on the book by Peter Mayle. 20th Century Fox

* So? Mismatched material

Harsh Times

After losing out on a job with the LAPD, an ex-Army ranger (Christian Bale) finds himself returning to his life of crime and drugs as his childhood friend from South-Central L.A. (Freddy Rodriguez) tries to save him. With Eva Longoria. Written and directed by David Ayer. MGM

* So? Gritty

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

Nicole Kidman plays Arbus in this semi-biographical fiction that imagines the real-life photographer's transformation from 1950s housewife into a powerfully influential artist. With Robert Downey Jr. Screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson, inspired by the biography by Patricia Bosworth. Directed by Steven Shainberg. Picturehouse

* So? Extraordinarily ordinary

Night of the Living Dead 3D

Remake of George A. Romero's 1968 black-and-white horror classic about flesh-eating zombies trapping humans in a remote farmhouse, this time adding color and 3-D special effects. With Brianna Brown, Joshua DesRoches, Sid Haig and Greg Travis. Screenplay by Robert Valding, based on the screenplay by George A. Romero and John A. Russo. Directed by Jeff Broadstreet. Midnight Movies Entertainment

* So? Enough already

F---

A look at the f-bomb and how it permeates our popular culture as a host of performers, writers and comedians (as well as animation by Bill Plympton) dissect the word's meanings. With Pat Boone, Drew Carey, Billy Connolly, Sam Donaldson, Janeane Garofalo, Ice-T, Ron Jeremy, Bill Maher, Alanis Morissette, Kevin Smith and the late Hunter S. Thompson. Directed by Steve Anderson. THINKFilm

* So? Unprintably entertaining

Nov. 17

The Aura

While on a hunting trip in the Patagonian forest, a shy, epileptic taxidermist (Ricardo Darin) stumbles on a way to carry out the perfect robbery. The catch, however, is that his seizures are preceded by an aura that alters his perceptions of past and present. In Spanish with subtitles. With Dolores Fonzi, Pablo Cedron, Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Jorge D'Elia and Alejandro Awada. Written and directed by Fabian Bielinsky. IFC First Take

* So? Taut, lean

Fast Food Nation

Journalist Eric Schlosser's bestselling book about the economic and social consequences of America's fast-food fixation becomes an ensemble drama looking at the industry from several interrelated angles, including restaurant employees, meat-packers and corporate executives. With Greg Kinnear, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ethan Hawke, Avril Lavigne and Wilmer Valderrama. Screenplay by Richard Linklater and Schlosser. Directed by Linklater. Fox Searchlight

* So? "Traffic" with cheeseburgers

Hannari -- Geisha Modern

The inner lives of the highly traditional geisha women of Kyoto, Japan, are seen in Miyuki Sohara's documentary, which was given an unprecedented level of access to the exclusive community of performers. Laemmle Theatres

* So? Intimate

Iraq in Fragments

Director James Longley's intimate portrait, presented without narration, of the lives of ordinary Iraqis from the country's three major ethnic groups -- Sunni, Shiite and Kurd -- culled from two years' worth of footage. Typecast Releasing

* So? Painfully topical

For Your Consideration

Director Christopher Guest and his group of improvisers turn their satirical perspectives to Hollywood awards as the actors in an independent film called "Home for Purim" learn their film is generating Oscar buzz. With Eugene Levy, Harry Shearer, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard and John Michael Higgins. Written by Guest & Levy. Warner Independent Pictures

* So? Just in time

Casino Royale

Daniel Craig is now the sixth actor to play James Bond in the 21st film in the franchise, not including the unofficial earlier version of this title, based on the same Ian Fleming novel. On his first mission, Bond takes on the banker for a terrorist network in a high-stakes game of poker. With Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright and Judi Dench. Screenplay by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Paul Haggis. Directed by Martin Campbell. Columbia / MGM

* So? Who's counting?

Bobby

Robert F. Kennedy's assassination at L.A.'s Ambassador Hotel in 1968 is the unifying incident in the lives of 22 people from different walks of life who find themselves at the hotel on that fateful night in writer-director Emilio Estevez's star-heavy ensemble drama. With Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Lindsay Lohan, William H. Macy, Elijah Wood, Helen Hunt, Christian Slater and Martin Sheen. The Weinstein Co.

* So? Hopefully, a night to remember

Nov. 21

The History Boys

A group of English school boys comes of age while their instructors debate the best way to shape their minds in an adaptation of Alan Bennett's Tony Award-winning play. With Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Stephen Campbell Moore and Dominic Cooper. Screenplay by Bennett. Directed by Nicholas Hytner. Fox Searchlight

* So? Learning curve

Nov. 22

Tenacious D

in the Pick of Destiny

The self-dubbed "Greatest Band in the World," made up of actor-musicians Jack Black and Kyle Gass, makes the leap from its HBO series to the big screen in a (heavily) fictionalized account of how "The D" got its start with a cross-country journey to retrieve a magic guitar pick. With Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins and Meat Loaf. Written by Black & Gass & Liam Lynch. Directed by Lynch. New Line

* So? Acquired taste

The Fountain

Writer-director Darren Aronofsky follows up his 2000 film "Requiem for a Dream" with a complex science-fiction love story spanning three time periods: the 16th century, the present and the 26th century, as a man (Hugh Jackman) who discovers the secret to eternal youth struggles to save the life of the woman he loves (Rachel Weisz). With Ellen Burstyn. Story by Aronofsky & Ari Handel. Warner Bros.

* So? It runneth over

Deck the Halls

Christmas in suburbia leads to all-out war between an uptight suburban dad (Matthew Broderick, above left with Danny DeVito) and his gregarious neighbor (DeVito), whose plans to create the largest Christmas display known to man wreak havoc on the neighborhood. With Kristin Davis, Kristin Chenoweth, Alia Shawkat and Sabrina Aldridge. Screenplay by Matt Corman & Chris Ord, story by Matt Corman & Chris Ord and Don Rhymer. Directed John Whitesell. 20th Century Fox

* So? Clash of egos

Deja Vu

"Man on Fire" director Tony Scott and star Denzel Washington reteam in this thriller about an ATF agent (Washington) struck with a strong sense of deja vu while investigating an explosion on a New Orleans ferry. With Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Adam Goldberg and Jim Caviezel. Written by Bill Marsilii & Terry Rossio. Touchstone Pictures

* So? High tension

Let's Go to Prison

An ex-con (Dax Shepard) gets himself sent back to prison so he can take revenge on the obnoxious son (Will Arnett) of the judge who originally put him there. With Chi McBride. Screenplay by Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon & Michael Patrick Jann, based on the book "You Are Going to Prison" by Jim Hogshire. Directed by Bob Odenkirk. Universal

* So? Cliches behind bars

Opal Dream

The young daughter of an opal miner in the Australian outback (Sapphire Boyce) finds companionship in her two invisible friends, Pobby and Dingan. When the friends go missing, the girl falls ill and her family, led by her 11-year-old brother (Christian Byers), rallies around her. With Vince Colosimo and Jaqueline McKenzie. Screenplay by Peter Cattaneo & Ben Rice & Phil Traill, based on Rice's book "Pobby and Dingan." Directed by Cattaneo. Strand Releasing

* So? Mystically old-fashioned

Nov. 24

Cautiva

Argentine teen (Barbara Lombardo) must delve into the darker aspects of her country's "dirty war" when she discovers her family isn't what she thought. With Susana Campos, Hugo Arana and Osvaldo Santoro. Written and directed by Gaston Biraben. Laemmle / Zeller Films

* So? Enlightening

Flannel Pajamas

Independent drama charts the course of one New York couple's relationship from a hot 'n' heavy blind date through the daily grind of marriage, and all the stages in-between. With Julianne Nicholson and Justin Kirk. Written and directed by Jeff Lipsky. Gigantic Releasing

* So? Not so cozy

Unconscious

The sexual taboos of early 20th century Barcelona in the time of Freud are the basis of this period comedy about a brother and very pregnant sister-in-law (Luis Tosar and Leonor Watling) caught up in a search for the woman's missing husband. In Spanish with English subtitles. With Alex Brendemuhl, Mercedes Sampietro, Nuria Prims, Ana Rayo, Juanjo Puigcorbe and Marieta Orozco. Written by Dominic Harari & Joaquin Oristrell & Teresa Pelegri. Directed by Oristrell. Regent Releasing

* So? Freudian trip

Dec. 1

The Architect

A fiercely proud mother in Chicago's drug- and crime-infested projects (Viola Davis) leads a crusade to get the projects torn down and replaced with workable housing. Her petition needs just one more signature -- that of the complex's original architect (Anthony Lapaglia). With Isabella Rossellini. Directed and written by Matt Tauber, based on the play by David Grieg. Magnolia Pictures

* So? Formidable odds

Candy

A naive young art student named Candy (Abbie Cornish) meets and falls in love with a wild but charming poet (Heath Ledger) and finds herself drawn into his world -- and picking up his heroin habit. With Geoffrey Rush. Screenplay by Neil Armfield and Luke Davies, based on the book by Davies. Directed by Armfield. THINKFilm

* So? Seductive trouble

The Nativity Story

The story of Jesus' birth is retold with Keisha Castle-Hughes as Mary, above, and Oscar Isaac as Joseph. Shoreh Aghdashloo plays Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. With Ciaran Hinds and Alexander Siddig. Written by Mike Rich. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke. New Line

* So? Inspiring

The Piano Tuner

of Earthquakes

A piano tuner is summoned to the secluded home of an evil doctor, where he is instructed to service some bizarre musical machines and becomes involved in the doctor's plot to stage a "diabolical opera" in the second live action film from animators (and identical twins) Stephen and Timothy Quay. With Amira Casar, Assumpta Serna, Cesar Sarachu and Gottfried John. Zeitgeist Films

* So? Musical intrigue

The Polar Express

Director Robert Zemeckis' 2004 CGI-animated children's adventure gets a rerelease in Imax 3-D. Tom Hanks provides the voices of six characters, including a young boy taking a ride on the magical "Polar Express" and Santa Claus himself. With the voices of Nona Gaye, Eddie Deezen and Peter Scolari. Screenplay by Zemeckis and William Broyles Jr. Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg. Warner Bros.

* So? Modern classic

3 Needles

Three separate stories -- set in rural China, Montreal's porn industry and a plantation in South Africa -- show how the AIDS pandemic wreaks havoc in different settings around the world. With Lucy Liu, Chloe Sevigny, Shawn Ashmore, Sandra Oh, Stockard Channing and Olympia Dukakis. Written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald. Wolfe Releasing

* So? Prickly

Van Wilder Deux:

The Rise of Taj

Van Wilder himself (Ryan Reynolds) is absent in this comedy sequel that follows the party king's assistant, Taj (Kal Penn), to the august halls of Oxford where he attempts to show the Brits how to cut loose, American-style. Written by David Drew Gallagher. Directed by Mort Nathan. MGM

* So? Van's understudy

Turistas

A group of American tourists stranded in a Brazilian beach town quickly discovers it's not paradise. With Josh Duhamel, Melissa George and Olivia Wilde. Written by Michael Ross. Directed by John Stockwell. Fox Atomic

* So? Deadly trap

Dec. 8

DOA: Dead or Alive

The planet's finest warriors converge on a tropical isle for a $10-million competition. Based on the video fighting-game series. With Devon Aoki, Sarah Carter, Natassia Malthe, Matthew Marsden, Jaime Pressly, Eric Roberts and Holly Valance. Written by J.F. Lawton, Seth Gross and Adam Gross, story by Lawton, based on the videogame by Tecmo. Directed by Corey Yuen. The Weinstein Co.

* So? Camp bouncy-ful

Apocalypto

Mel Gibson co-wrote and directed this adventure set in the waning days of the Mayan civilization, when a young man flees for his life after rulers mark him for sacrifice. With Rudy Youngblood, Raoul Trujillo, Gerardo Taracena (above) and Dalia Hernandez. Written by Gibson and Farhad Safinia. Touchstone

* So? Gibson's continuing journey

Blood Diamond

Adventure turns on a rare pink diamond hidden somewhere in Sierra Leone in a political drama from "The Last Samurai" director Edward Zwick. Playing a South African mercenary is Leonardo DiCaprio, above with Djimon Hounsou, who plays a fisherman taken from his family and forced to work in Africa's diamond mines. With Jennifer Connelly, Michael Sheen and Arnold Vosloo. Screenplay by Charles Leavitt, story by Leavitt and C. Gaby Mitchell. Warner Bros.

* So? Africa's lament

Breaking & Entering

A landscape architect (Jude Law) finds his office repeatedly broken into in the rapidly gentrifying area of London known as King's Cross. When he tracks the thief to his apartment, he quickly finds himself caught in an affair with the young burgler's mother (Juliette Binoche). With Robin Wright Penn, Vera Farmiga, Martin Freeman and Ray Winstone. Written and directed by Anthony Minghella. The Weinstein Co., Oscar qualifying run

* So? Low-key Minghella

Family Law

An attorney with a dull but contented life (Daniel Hendler) has his life thrown into chaos when his estranged father unexpectedly dies and he must deal with all the feelings he'd suppressed about the relationship. In Spanish with subtitles. With Adriana Aizemberg, Luis Albornoz, Eloy Burman, Julieta Diaz, Damian Dreizek, Arturo Goetz, Dario Lagos. Written and directed by Daniel Burman. IFC First Take

* So? Conflicted

Mr. Leather

Documentary follows the experiences of nine men as they compete in a series of "Mr. Leather" competitions, celebrating the leather subculture. Directed by Jason Garrett. Here! Films / Regent Releasing

* So? Fetish? Or just foolish?

Soap

A lonely young woman (Trine Dryholm) and her downstairs, soap opera-obsessed transsexual neighbor (David Dencik) are brought together through trying circumstances and find themselves enmeshed in their own personal soap opera. Written by Kim Fupz Aakeson & Pernille Fischer Christensen. Directed by Christensen. Strand Releasing

* So? Dogma-style

Off the Black

A lost teenager (Trevor Morgan) finds a father figure in his high school baseball team's cantankerous umpire (Nick Nolte). As their friendship grows, the umpire invites the boy to pretend to be his son at his upcoming 40th class reunion. With Timothy Hutton and Sally Kirkland. Written and directed by James Ponsoldt. THINKFilm

* So? Inspiring

Screamers

Armenian American rock band System of a Down's world tour is the starting point for documentary filmmaker Carla Garapedian's look at international efforts to formally recognize the early 20th century genocide of Armenians by Turkey. Maya Releasing

* So? Eye-opening

Unaccompanied Minors

A major international airport shut down by a blizzard at Christmastime, typically a scene to inspire nightmares, becomes a wonderland of possibility for five children stranded there together and determined to make the place their own playhouse, despite the objections of an uptight airport official (Lewis Black) and his assistant (Wilmer Valderrama). With Tyler James Williams, Dyllan Christopher, Gina Mantegna, Quinn Shephard and Brett Kelly. Written by Jacob Meszaros & Mya Stark. Directed by Paul Feig. Warner Bros.

* So? Great possibilities

Dec. 15

Arthur and the Invisibles

While trying to save his family's home from real estate developers, a young boy stumbles into a fantasy world of people so small they are considered invisible, where he must help a princess thwart an evil wizard in this live-action and CGI adventure from director Luc Besson. With Mia Farrow, Freddie Highmore and the voices of Madonna, David Bowie and Snoop Dogg. Screenplay by Luc Besson, based on his children's book. The Weinstein Co., Oscar qualifying run

* So? Ambitious adventure

Backstage

Emmanuelle Seigner, above, plays a pop star obsessed over by an unhappy teenager (Isild Le Besco) who gets the chance to meet her idol and becomes drawn into the singer's unstable personal life. With Noemie Levovsky, Valery Zeitoum and Samuel Benchetrit. Written by Emmanuelle Bercot & Jerome Tonnerre. Directed by Bercot. Strand Releasing

* So? Unhealthy attraction

The Pursuit of Happyness

A down-on-his-luck salesman (Will Smith, above with real-life son Jaden) assumes custody of his 5-year-old boy (Jaden) and must struggle with hardship, including homelessness, in the hopes of securing a better life. With Thandie Newton. Written by Steven Conrad. Directed by Gabriele Muccino. Columbia

* So? Meditation on life, liberty ...

Eragon

In a fantasy world of kingdoms and dragons, a young boy named Eragon (Edward Speleers) finds a dragon's egg that leads him to realize his destiny as defender of his world from the advances of an evil king. With Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, Robert Carlyle, Djimon Hounsou, Garrett Hedlund and John Malkovich. Screenplay by Peter Buchman and Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal and Jesse Wigutow, based on the novel by Christopher Paolini. Directed by Stefan Fangmeier. 20th Century Fox

* So? High Internet buzz factor

Home of the Brave

The traumas of the Iraq war continue to haunt four American soldiers (Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Brian Presley) after they return home and attempt to adjust to civilian life. Written by Mark Friedman. Directed by Irwin Winkler. MGM

* So? Casualties of war

Venus

Two aging thespians (Peter O'Toole, pictured above with newcomer Jodie Whittaker, and Leslie Phillips) find their lives and routines thrown off balance when the young niece (Whittaker) of one of the actors comes to stay and makes them realize how little they know about their own lives. With Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Griffiths. Written by Hanif Kureishi. Directed by Roger Michell. Miramax

* So? Crisp and cheeky

Days of Glory

True story of a group of North African soldiers who fought alongside the French against the Nazis in World War II. Despite their bravery, they went largely unappreciated until left alone to defend a small village from the Germans. With Jamel Debbouze and Samy Naceri. Screenplay by Rachid Bouchareb and Olivier Lorelle. Directed by Bouchareb. The Weinstein Co., Oscar-qualifying run

* So? Heroics versus treachery

Dec. 20

Charlotte's Web

E.B. White's classic children's book about the friendship between a naive little pig and a very smart spider gets a live-action adaptation with a barnyard of big-name talent. With Julia Roberts, Dakota Fanning, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Kathy Bates, Reba McEntire, Thomas Haden Church and Andre Benjamin. Screenplay by Susannah Grant and Karey Kirkpatrick. Directed by Gary Winick. Paramount

* So? Beloved enchantment

The Painted Veil

W. Somerset Maugham's classic novel is the basis of this love story about a doctor (Edward Norton) who takes revenge on his unfaithful wife (Naomi Watts) by dragging her with him to fight cholera in remote China. With Liev Schreiber and Toby Jones. Screenplay by Ron Nyswaner. Warner Independent Pictures

* So? Somerset who?

Dec. 21

Dreamgirls

The Tony Award-winning musical loosely based on the rise of Diana Ross and the Supremes gets adapted by director Bill Condon. With Beyonce Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Danny Glover, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose and Eddie Murphy. Screenplay by Condon, based on the musical by Tom Eyen. DreamWorks / Paramount

* So? Energetic

Dec. 22

The Good Shepherd

The story of the CIA's formative years is viewed through the eyes of one of its first recruits (played by Matt Damon), an idealistic young man whose view of the world is slowly corrupted by the paranoia of the Cold War. Directed by Robert De Niro. With Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, Tammy Blanchard, Billy Crudup, William Hurt, Keir Dullea, Timothy Hutton and John Turturro. Written by Eric Roth. Universal

* So? Illuminating

Night at the Museum

The exhibits come to life on a good-hearted night watchman's (Ben Stiller) first shift at a museum of natural history, and he teams with a wax figure of Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) to put the museum back in order. Also opening in Imax 3-D. With Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs and Ricky Gervais. Screenplay by Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon, based on the book by Milan Trenc. Directed by Shawn Levy. 20th Century Fox

* So? Aggressively exhibitionist

Rocky Balboa

Sylvester Stallone, above, squeezes into the boxing togs again as the aging Italian Stallion weighs the risks and the rewards of climbing into the ring one more time when he's offered a fight against current boxing champion Mason "The Line" Dixon (Antonio Tarver). With Burt Young, Milo Ventimiglia, Geraldine Hughes and James Francis Kelly III. Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone. MGM

* So? More than a little hoary

The Tiger and the Snow

Oscar-winning writer-director Roberto Benigni plays a self-absorbed poet who finds real world events crashing into his life when he rushes around war-torn Baghdad to save the life of the woman he loves. With Nicoletta Braschi, Jean Reno and Tom Waits. Strand Releasing

* So? Topical

Dec. 25

Black Christmas

The writer-director team behind "Final Destination" remakes the 1974 horror flick about sorority girls getting creepy phone calls during their Christmas break, then having unfortunate encounters with a homicidal maniac. With Michelle Trachtenberg, Katie Cassidy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert and Oliver Hudson. Screenplay by Glen Morgan & James Wong. Directed by Morgan and Wong. Dimension

* So? Could be creepy

Notes on a Scandal

A new art teacher at a London school (Cate Blanchett) starts an affair with one of her students and shares her secrets with her colleague (Judi Dench). With Bill Nighy. Screenplay by Patrick Marber, based on the novel by Zoe Heller. Directed by Richard Eyre. Fox Searchlight

* So? Working relationship

Dec. 27

Perfume

In 18th century Paris, a master perfumer (Ben Whishaw) goes to extraordinary lengths to find the perfect scent, including murder, in a drama from director Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run"). With Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman and Rachel Hurd-Wood. Screenplay by Andrew Birkin & Bernd Eichinger & Tom Tykwer. Paramount

* So? Scenter of attention

Dec. 29

The Dead Girl

Seemingly unrelated people are affected by the murder of a girl (Brittany Murphy). With Josh Brolin, Rose Byrne, Toni Collette, Bruce Davison, James Franco, Marcia Gay Harden, Mary Beth Hurt, Piper Laurie, Giovanni Ribisi, Mary Steenburgen and Kerry Washington. Written and directed by Karen Moncrieff ("Blue Car"). First Look Studios

* So? Darkly intriguing

Factory Girl

The rise and fall of '60s "it girl" Edie Sedgwick (Sienna Miller, above with Guy Pearce), who went from a lost trust-fund kid to the center of the pop-art universe when she hooked up with Andy Warhol (Pearce) and began appearing in his films. With Hayden Christensen, Mena Suvari and Jimmy Fallon. Written by Captain Mauzner. Directed by George Hickenlooper. The Weinstein Co., Oscar-qualifying run

* So? Lotsa last-minute tinkering

Miss Potter

It's a long way from the world of Peter Rabbit to the real-life story of how a young children's author named Beatrix Potter (Renee Zellweger) had a passionate but forbidden affair with her editor (Ewan McGregor). With Emily Watson, Barbara Flynn, Bill Paterson and Lloyd Owen. Written by Richard Malby Jr. Directed by Chris Noonan. The Weinstein Co.

* So? Back story

Pan's Labyrinth

Writer-director Guillermo Del Toro's dark fantasy takes place in World War II-era Spain under the fascist regime, when a little girl travels to the center of an ancient stone labyrinth and finds a world of magical creatures that promise to help her fulfill her destiny. With Mirabel Verdu, Sergi Lopez, Ivana Baquero and Doug Jones. Picturehouse

* So? Fantastic

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