Naturally, expectations will be high for filmmakers who broke through with their last films. "One Night Stand" will be Mike Figgis' first picture since "Leaving Las Vegas"; David Fincher follows "Seven" with "The Game"; "Trainspotting's" Danny Boyle goes upbeat with "A Life Less Ordinary," about angel matchmakers come to Earth; P.J. Hogan goes from "Muriel's Wedding" to "My Best Friend's Wedding"; and Ang Lee's answer to "Sense and Sensibility" is a New England domestic drama titled "Icestorm."
You're probably aware of the race between Fox and Universal to be first in theaters with their volcano movies. Universal won, announcing a Feb. 7 date for "Dante's Peak"; Fox will release "Volcano," the one set in the Wilshire District, later in the year. And you may have heard that there are two movies coming on Steve Prefontaine, the charismatic Oregon track star who died in a car crash in 1975. Disney hit the tape first on this one: "Prefontaine," from the makers of "Hoop Dreams," opens Friday. Warner Bros.' "Pre," directed by Robert Towne ("Personal Best"), comes in the fall.
And there are two Tibet movies--neither of which stars Richard Gere. Both films are scheduled for fall release. Martin Scorsese's "Kundun," based on the life of the Dalai Lama, is being released by Disney. Jean-Jacques Annaud's "Seven Years in Tibet" is about a Westerner (Brad Pitt) spiritually transformed by a trip to the Himalayan home of the Dalai Lama.
Finally, here are a few burning questions we'll have answered this year: Did "Waterworld" finish director Kevin Reynolds? Kevin Costner's ex-friend attempts a comeback with "187," a drama about an inner-city schoolteacher (Samuel L. Jackson) who has his attitude made over by a beating from a student.
Did "Waterworld" finish Kevin Costner as an action star? Costner tries it again, directing himself in the futuristic thriller "The Postman."
Will DreamWorks' films work? The initial Spielberg-Katzenberg-Geffen releases are due to arrive late in the year. First up is expected to be "The Peacemaker," an action thriller starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. Also on tap, for Christmas, "Amistad," Steven Spielberg's historical drama about a mutiny aboard a Spanish slave ship in 1839.
And (say it isn't so) will Howard Stern become a star?