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Holiday Sneaks

Season's screenings

The posters were hung by the box office with care, in hopes that the audience soon would be there--for dozens of releases ranging from Brian De Palma's 'Fatale' vision to the sorcery of this year's 'Harry Potter' and 'Lord of the Rings' installments.

November 03, 2002


Femme Fatale


Warner Bros.

With: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Antonio Banderas, Peter Coyote, Gregg Henry, Rie Rasmussen, Eriq Ebouaney.

The idea: Con woman adopts new identity, but a photographer complicates matters.

Writer-director: Brian De Palma.

So? Pretty steamy, De Palma's best in a while.





With: Jacques Derrida.

The idea: The influential French philosopher discusses post-structuralism and deconstructionism, then analyzes his own taped interviews.

Directors: Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering Kofman.

So? Deconstruction by the deconstructionist.

8 Mile



With: Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy, Mekhi Phifer, Eugene Byrd, Taryn Manning.

The idea: White rapper and his crew navigate volatile mid-'90s Detroit.

Writer: Scott Silver.

Director: Curtis Hanson.

So? Hip-hot.

Far From Heaven


Focus Features

With: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert.

The idea: Todd Haynes dissects social issues a la Douglas Sirk as picture-perfect '50s family begins to unravel.

Writer-director: Haynes.

So? Fundamentally flawless.

The Flip Side


Puro Pinoy Productions

With: Verwin Gatpandan, Jose Saenz, Ronalee Par.

The idea: Children of lively Filipino American family struggle to adapt in suburban So Cal.

Writer-director: Rod Pulido.

So? Self-distributed indie was first Filipino American feature to play Sundance.


Romantic comedy

Strand Releasing

With: Seiichi Tanabe, Kazuya Takahashi, Reiko Kataoka.

The idea: Self-centered gay man and closeted lover meet woman who could conceivably cause complications.

Writer-director: Ryosuke Hashiguchi.

So? Triangular tribulation.

On Guard! (Le Bossu)

Period action drama

Empire Pictures

With: Daniel Autueil, Fabrice Luchini, Vincent Perez, Marie Gillain, Philippe Noiret.

The idea: In 17th century France, an expert swordsman dons a disguise to carry out a promise to a slain duke.

Writers: Philippe de Broca, Jean Cosmos; based on Paul Feval's novel "Le Bossu."

Director: De Broca.

So? Honorable nobility.

'R Xmas

Crime drama


With: Drea de Matteo, Ice-T and Lillo Brancato.

The idea: Drug-dealing Latino couple's American Dream is shattered when husband is kidnapped on Dec. 24.

Writers: Abel Ferrara, Scott Pardo, story by Cassandra De Jesus.

Director: Ferrara.

So? Don't expect a jolly holiday.

The Rising Place


Flatland Pictures

With: Frances Fisher, Alice Drummond, Laurel Holloman, Elise Neal, Mark Webber, Gary Cole, Tess Harper.

The idea: A young Mississippi Delta woman bucks social convention to have a child out of wedlock in the 1940s.

Writer-director: Tom Rice.

So? Virtue in adversity.

November 15




With: David Alpay, Charles Aznavour, Eric Bogosian, Brent Carver, Marie-Josee Croze, Bruce Greenwood, Arsinee Khanjian, Christopher Plummer.

The idea: The filming of a historical epic frames a young Armenian Canadian's struggles with historical truth and personal relationships.

Writer-director: Atom Egoyan.

So? Turkey would prefer this story remain untold.

Daughter From Danang


Balcony Releasing /

Cowboy Pictures

The idea: Tennessee-raised Vietnamese girl reunites with her mother 22 years after the end of the Vietnam War.

Directors: Gail Dolgin, Vicente Franco.

So? Sundance Grand Jury Prize for documentary.

El Crimen del Padre Amaro


IDP / Samuel Goldwyn

With: Gael Garcia Bernal, Sancho Gracia, Ana Claudia Talancon, Angelica Aragon, Ernesto Gomez Cruz.

The idea: Young Catholic priest is sent to small Mexican parish and is soon surrounded by temptation and corruption.

Writer: Vicente Lenero, based on the novel by Eca de Queiros.

Director: Carlos Carrera.

So? Catholic hierarchy's opposition didn't stop it from becoming Mexico's highest-grossing film.

Half-Past Dead


Screen Gems

With: Steven Seagal, Morris Chestnut, Ja Rule, Nia Peeples, Kurupt, Tony Plana, Claudia Christian.

The idea: Criminal commandos invade Alcatraz, prisoners prepare to repel boarders.

Writer-director: Don Michael Paul.

So? Kind of like "The Rock," minus Cage, Connery and Harris.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


Warner Bros.

With: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Fiona Shaw, Richard Griffiths, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Wright, Hugh Mitchell, Kenneth Branagh, John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Richard Harris, Jason Isaacs, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters.

The idea: Harry and Co. investigate further strange doings at Hogwarts.

Writers: Steve Kloves, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling.

Director: Chris Columbus.

So? Are kids still wild about Harry?

Interview With the Assassin



With: Raymond J. Barry, Dylan Haggerty, Renee Faia, Jared McVay, Kate Williamson.

The idea: Unemployed TV cameraman's furtive neighbor claims to be the shooter from the grassy knoll.

Writer-director: Neil Burger.

So? Conspiracy theorists ought to eat this up.



First Look

With: Graham Greene, Eric Schweig.

The idea: Sioux brothers cope in different ways with the indignity of reservation existence.

Writer: Jennifer D. Lyne; based on the novel by Adrian Louis.

Director: Chris Eyre.

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