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If it’s fall, it must be Quidditch season

Harry Potter returns to the big screen joined by Chicken Little, Johnny Cash and more. By Paige Newman
/ Source: msnbc.com

It’s fall, which in Hollywood means three things: The superheroes get to go into hibernation for the winter. Horror movie buffs will have plenty to pick from. And, it’s the beginning of Oscar bait season.

This year's Oscar bait is a bit different from last year. Though there are some biopics — “Walk the Line,” “Capote” — they don’t dominate the scene the way they did last year. Could a heartfelt movie like “Elizabethtown” actually swipe the best-movie Oscar from darker fare this year? And will audiences weary of the news of Iraq on television be drawn to a war film like “Jarhead”? The usual Oscar suspects are back, from Polanski to Theron to Keaton and Streep. Good but lesser known actors like David Strathairn, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Hope Davis could also join the list of favorites. And new names like Q'orianka Kilcher and Clifton Collins Jr. could also land on those end-of-year best actor lists.

Of course, fall isn’t just about Oscars. There’s still plenty of popcorn fare, including such scarefests as “The Fog,” “Saw 2” and “Three Extremes.” Action abounds with “Flightplan,” “Doom” and Joss Whedon’s “Serenity.” And don’t worry about the kids, “Scrubs” star Zach Braff voices “Chicken Little” and then, of course, there’s the latest “Harry Potter” film, but the best news for the kids is the big screen version of “Wallace and Gromit.” Enjoy, and start your awards-show prognosticating.

Touchstone Pictures
Tristar
Warner Bros.
Fox Searchlight
Lions Gate

“A History of Violence”
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes, Sumela KayDirector: David CronenbergStory: Loosely based on the DC comic of the same name, this film tells the story of Tom Stall (Mortensen) who kills two men who attempt to rob his diner one night. When the media turn him into a hero, he attracts the attention of two mobsters (Hurt and Harris) who believe he’s actually someone else — someone with a very violent past. Even his wife (Bello) isn’t sure what to believe.Buzz: Cronenberg (“Crash,” “Dead Ringers”) is the kind of director who enjoys playing with his characters’ — and the viewers’ — minds. This film got a standing ovation at Cannes, but didn’t end up taking home any awards. Variety called it “a surprisingly conventional film from the normally more adventurously mind-bending David Cronenberg.” Still, it’s hard to argue with the great cast here — it could be one to watch. Web site:  http://www.historyofviolence.com/

Universal
Walt Disney Pictures
Sony Pictures Classics
Dreamworks
BEVERLY HILLS - MARCH 20: Actress Cameron Diaz attends the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Award honoring the late Herb Ritts and Mario Testino for their contributions to the world of fashion and entertainment from the city of Beverly Hills and the Rodeo Drive committe on March 20, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Cameron DiazFrederick M. Brown / Getty Images North America
Universal Pictures
Dreamworks
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Warner Independent Pictures
BERLIN, GERMANY: British actor Idris Elba poses during a photocall 17 February 2005 at the International Berlin Film Festival Berlinale where he presents his film "Sometimes in April". AFP PHOTO DDP/MICHAEL KAPPELER GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images)Michael Kappeler / AFP

“Elizabethtown”
Starring: Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, Bruce McGill, Judy Greer, Jessica BielDirector: Cameron CroweStory: After being fired from a shoe company and being dumped by his girlfriend (Biel), Drew (Bloom) learns that his father has passed away and must journey to the small Kentucky town of Elizabethtown to fulfill his father’s dying wish. Along the way, he he falls in love with flight attendant Claire (Dunst). Sarandon plays Bloom’s mother and Baldwin plays his former boss. Buzz: Can a funny, touching movie win an Oscar? This will be the question as “Elizabethtown” enters the fray of potential Oscar nominees. Cameron Crowe (“Jerry McGuire”) is one of the rare filmmakers who makes artistic movies that tend to also be audience pleasers — though I’m still in disbelief that “Almost Famous” didn’t do better at the box office. Bloom hasn’t really proven himself as a leading man, but this film could solidify his shaky reputation. Look for Sarandon and possibly Greer to get recognized come Oscar time.Web site:  http://www.elizabethtown.com/

“The Fog”
Starring: Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, Selma Blair, DeRay Davis, Rade SerbedzijaDirector: Rupert WainwrightStory: In this remake of the 1980 John Carpenter film, a thick and eerie fog hits a Northern California coast. Could it contain ghosts of a mysterious shipwreck who have come to seek their revenge? Um, probably. Welling (“Smallville”), Grace (“Lost”) and Blair (“Cruel Intentions”) are among those terrorized. Buzz: Does Wainwright (“Stigmata”) really think he can outdo Carpenter? C’mon. Grace is definitely practiced in running from mysterious creatures. This seems like your basic studio attempt to cash in on Halloween. Let’s hope there are some actual scares here.Web site:  http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/thefog/site/

“North Country”
Starring: Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Jeremy Renner, Brad Henke, Sissy Spacek, Woody Harrelson, Sean Bean, Michelle Monaghan, Richard JenkinsDirector: Niko CaroStory: A fictional account of the first sexual-harassment case in the U.S., Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines. Theron stars as Josey Aimes, who believes she and her fellow female co-workers are being treated unfairly and suffering abuse at a Minnesota mining company. Harrelson plays the lawyer who takes on her lawsuit. McDormand (“Fargo”) plays a fellow miner and Renner (“Dahmer”) co-stars as one of the harassers. Buzz: This is Caro’s first film since her surprise hit “Whale Rider,” but the only thing the films have in common are their feminist themes. If you’re expecting a “Monster”-like makeup job for Theron, think again — even beauties like Theron can work in mines. With or without makeup, if the film takes off, expect to see Theron’s name again come Oscar time. Web site: NA

“Domino”
Starring: Keira Knightley, Mena Suvari, Christopher Walken, Lucy Liu, Mickey Rourke, Macy Gray, Jacqueline Bisset, Edgar Ramirez, Mo'Nique, Shondrella Avery, Dabney Coleman, Delroy LindoDirector: Tony ScottStory: Based on the true story, this film tells the story of Domino Harvey (Knightley), daughter of actor Laurence Harvey, who rejected her glamorous life as a Ford model to become a bounty hunter. Domino’s latest case has her pursuing thieves who’ve stolen $10 million while being filmed by a “Cops”-like reality TV show. Edgar Ramirez and Mickey Rourke co-star as her partners. Buzz: Scott’s films (“Man on Fire,” “Spy Game”) have a distinctive look — almost a washed out look with lots of fast cuts and slow motion. With a great performance in “Sin City,” Rourke may be on his way to career recovery — it couldn’t happen to a better guy. Although, she’s slight in build, Knightley does possess a believable toughness which could serve her well here. The real Domino Harvey passed away earlier this summer at age 35.Web site:  http://www.dominomovie.com/

“Derailed”
Starring: Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel, Melissa George, RZADirector: Mikael HåfströmStory:  Based on the novel by James Siegel, Owen (“Closer”) plays an ad executive who cheats on his wife with the married Aniston, in this thriller. Things get complicated when they are attacked by violent criminals during a hotel rendezvous. A blackmail scheme threatens to break up both marriages. Buzz: Owen is making a habit of playing cheating husbands. It will be interesting to see if he and Aniston can create as many sparks as Pitt and Jolie did in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” Håfström is best known for his Oscar-nominated Swedish film “Evil.” This is his first English-language film. Web site: NA

“Doom”
Starring: Karl Urban, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Rosamund Pike, Deobia Oparei, Ben Daniels, Raz Adoti, Richard Brake, Al Weaver, Yao ChinDirector: Andrzej BartkowiakStory: Based on the "Doom" video game, Urban and the Rock star as part of the Rapid Response Tactical Squad, a group of special-ops guys who respond to a distress signal from planet Olduvai. When they get there, they encounter mutant beings who are systematically killing off the population. Buzz: Have there been any good movies based on video games? Basically, no. By their nature, video-game movies are going to be fairly two-dimensional. Urban told Entertainment Weekly that the movie will be just as bloody and full of carnage as the video game. This is strictly popcorn fare —  the best hope is that it’s not completely humorless. Web site:  http://www.doommovie.com/

“Shopgirl”
Starring: Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Frances Conroy, Sam Bottoms, Rebecca Pidgeon, Joshua SnyderDirector: Anand TuckerStory: Martin adapted his own novel and stars in this story about a young artist (Danes) who supplements her income by selling gloves at a fancy shop. She meets a wealthy businessman (Martin) and a struggling musician (Schwartzman) at the same time, and finds herself dating these two men who have seemingly nothing in common. Buzz: Remember after “Romeo + Juliet,” when it seemed like Danes was on the verge of becoming a huge star? It never quite happened, but she continues to take meaty roles in small films (“Igby Goes Down,” “Stage Beauty”). Danes told Premiere magazine that Martin’s character in the film is much close to who he really is than the “wild and crazy guy” we’ve come to know and love. This is a small film that has a very “Lost in Translation” feel to it and will probably do well with the arthouse crowd. Web site:  http://touchstone.movies.go.com/index.html?dlink=shopgirl

“Dreamer: Inspired By a True Story”
Starring: Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Kris Kristofferson, Elisabeth Shue, David Morse, Freddy Rodriguez, Luis Guzmán, Oded FehrDirector: John GatinsStory: Fanning stars as the daughter of a burnt-out horse trainer (Russell). He puts her in charge of nursing an injured horse back to health. When the horse’s recovery seems strong enough to take it to the Breeder’s Cup, will Russell and the horse be able to reclaim their former greatness? Shue co-stars as Russell’s wife, while Kristofferson plays his father. Buzz: Dakota Fanning and horses — catnip for preteen girls everywhere. This sounds like your basic feel-good horse movie, more along the lines of “Black Stallion” than “Seabiscuit.” Writer-director Gatins is no stranger to sports movies, he wrote 2002’s “Coach Carter.” This is his directorial debut.Web site:  http://www.dreamworks.com/Dreamer/

“Stay”
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Janeane Garofalo, Bob HoskinsDirector: Marc ForsterStory: In this thriller, McGregor stars as a psychiatrist whose patient (Gosling) threatens to commit suicide in three days. In his attempts to help the man, McGregor begins to see people who are supposed to be dead and finds himself questioning his own sanity. Watts co-stars as his wife.Buzz: Forster (“Finding Neverland,” “Monster’s Ball”) shot this film almost two years ago. The story sounds a bit like “Sixth Sense” meets “Jacob’s Ladder” with McGregor in the Haley Joel Osment/Tim Robbins role. Gosling (“The Notebook”) eschews his new leading man status to return his dark roots.Web site:  NA

“The Legend of Zorro”
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell, Nick Chinlund, Adrian AlonsoDirector: Martin CampbellStory: In this sequel to 1998’s “Mask of Zorro,” Banderas reprises his role as the man in black, this time on the verge of retirement. But when Sewell’s vineyard owner poses a threat to California’s statehood, Banderas must once again don the mask. Wife Elena (Zeta-Jones) is not too happy about this turn of events and leaves him. Can he save California and keep his marriage together?Buzz: Will people be interested in this sequel seven years after the original? Campbell (“Beyond Borders”) directed the original, but hasn’t helmed too many pictures since. The introduction of a 10-year-old son promises some cloying precocious child scenes. Zeta-Jones, though successful, is one of those strange actresses that women just don’t seem to connect with. It’s hard to imagine this film will be anything but mediocre. Web site:   http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/thelegendofzorro/

“Prime”
Starring: Uma Thurman, Meryl Streep, Bryan GreenbergDirector: Ben YoungerStory: In this comedy, Streep stars as a psychiatrist treating a recently divorced career woman (Thurman) who, unbeknownst to Streep, begins dating her son (Greenberg). The trick is that Thurman doesn’t realize that Greenberg is Streep’s son. When Streep sees Thurman and Greenberg together she finds herself in a sticky situation, pulled between her responsibilities as a therapist and her role as a mom.Buzz: Fans of the HBO series “Unscripted” may recognize this as the film Bryan Greenberg went to work on in New York during that series. Streep plays an overbearing New York Jewish mother here, and let’s hope, with her talent, she raises that role above the standard stereotype. This is the kind of not-an-indie, not-a-blockbuster movie that studios rarely produce anymore. It would be nice to see these mid-level films catch on. This is Younger’s (“Boiler Room”) second full-length feature.Web site:   http://www.primemovie.net/

“Saw 2”
Starring: Donnie Wahlberg, Shawnee Smith, Tobin Bell, Franky G., Glenn Plummer, Dina Meyer, Emmanuael Vaugier, Beverley Mitchell, Eric KnudsenDirector: Darren Lynn BousmanStory: Jigsaw is back, but this time there are eight strangers in danger who don’t realize their connection to each other — they are forced to play a game of wits. Detective Eric Mason (Wahlberg) is on the case.Buzz: Obviously, for those who saw the first film, Carey Elwes isn’t going to be back for this one. This film focuses a bit more on the killer, giving us a bit more insight into his background. Although some may think of Donnie as the lesser Wahlberg, he was excellent as Detective Joel Stevens on the short-lived series “Boomtown.” The studio got this film into production so quickly that they didn’t even wait for original director James Wan to get back from promoting the first one. Instead they gave another new kid a chance; this is Bousman’s first full-length feature and it was shot in just 36 days. Talk about quick and dirty.Web site:  http://www.saw2.com/

“The Weather Man”
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Michael Rispoli, Gil BellowsDirector: Gore VerbinskiStory: Cage stars as Chicago weatherman Dave Spritz, who is loved and loathed by fans — they have a tendency to throw things when they’re unhappy with his forecast. Though his professional life seems to be going fairly well, his personal life is stormy. He’s undergoing a painful divorce from Davis and his father, Caine, is ill. When he’s offered a lucrative job opportunity he has to face one of the biggest decisions of his life.Buzz: This comedy was pushed from summer to fall, which means one thing: Paramount has Oscar hopes. Caine looks to the best bet for a potential Oscar nominee, though Davis (“American Splendor,” “About Schmidt”) has turned in some really good, and overlooked, performances. Verbinski (“The Ring”) is probably best known for “Pirates of the Caribbean” and its upcoming sequels. The man knows how to make an audience pleaser. Web site:  http://www.weathermanmovie.com/

“Three Extremes”
Starring: Byung-hun Lee, Hye-jeong Kang, Jung-ah Yum, Mitsuru Akaboshi, Ling Bai, Lee Jun Goo, Kyoko Hasegawa, Pauline Lau, Mi Mi Lee, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Won-Hee Lim, Meme, Mai Suzuki, Yuu Suzuki, Atsuro Watabe, So-Fun Wong, Miriam Yeung Chin Wah, Miki YeungDirector: Fruit Chan, Park Chan-Wook, Miike TakashiStory: A triptych of horror stories from acclaimed Asian directors. In the first an actress seeks the rejuvenating effects of a doctor’s mysterious dumplings. In the second, a film director is abducted by a vengeful stranger. Finally, in the third, a novelist receives a mysterious invitation to meet at the site of her sister’s demise.Buzz: Asian horror movies just tend to be better and creepier than their American counterparts. Here we have three masters: Japan’s Miike (“Audition”), Korea’s Park (“Oldboy”) and Hong Kong’s Chan (“Finale in Blood”). You might as well see this film now, before it gets remade in English.Web site: NA

“Chicken Little”
Starring: Zach Braff, Garry Marshall, Joan Cusack, Steve Zahn, Amy Sedaris, Don Knotts, Harry Shearer, Patrick Stewart, Wallace Shawn, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, Adam West, Enrico Colantoni, Patrick WarburtonDirector: Mark DindalStory: Braff provides the voice for a young suburban chicken who uncovers what may be an alien invasion. Following in the footsteps of “Finding Nemo,” the film is really about Chicken Little’s relationship with his dad, Buck Cluck (Marshall). Cusack lends her talents to Abby Mallard, aka Ugly Duckling, while Zahn voices pig Runt of the Litter.Buzz: This is Disney’s first computer-animated feature without Pixar, and you know they're feeling the pressure. Dindal also directed “The Emperor’s New Groove,” but this is his first foray into CG animation. Originally, Holly Hunter was going to play Chicken Little.Web site:  http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/chickenlittle/index.html

“The Family Stone”
Starring: Claire Danes, Tyrone Giordano, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elizabeth Reaser, Paul Schneider, Brian J. White, Luke WilsonDirector: Thomas BezuchaStory: In this romantic comedy, Ben Stone (Wilson) brings home his uptight fiancé (Danes) to meet to his family. When faced with their hostile reception, Danes decides she needs moral support, so she invites her sister (Parker) to join them. Things just get worse from there. Keaton co-stars as the matriarch of the Stone clan. Buzz: This could be one of those little dark-horse romantic comedies, much like Keaton’s last film, “Something’s Gotta Give.” That film scored Keaton an Oscar nod, and history may repeat itself. This is Parker’s first movie since “Sex and the City” wrapped. McAdams, who plays one of the Stone sisters, is definitely the It Girl of the moment and an actress to watch — she’s already being called the next Julia Roberts. Web site: NA

“Jarhead”
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black, Chris Cooper, Dennis Haysbert, Rini BellDirector: Sam MendesStory: Based on Anthony Swofford’s memoir of the same name, Gyllenhaal stars as Swoff, a Marine sniper during the 1991 Gulf War. The film follows Swoff from boot camp to active duty in Iraq. Foxx plays career military man, the hard-core Sergeant Siek. Sarsgaard (“Kinsey”) co-stars as Swoff’s friend and mentor Troy.Buzz: Great cast, great director, based on a celebrated memoir — what could go wrong? Well, this film may do well critically, but it will be a test to see if audiences are ready to go see a movie about a war in Iraq when we are currently fighting a different war in Iraq. The cold shoulder given to the FX series “Over There” leads me to believe that audiences are going to stay away from this one. Critics could make the difference.Web site: NA

“The Matador”
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis, Philip Baker Hall, Adam Scott, Dylan BakerDirector: Richard ShepardStory: Brosnan stars as an aging hitman who meets up with an ordinary American businessman (Kinnear) in this dark comedy. When the lonely Brosnan tries to connect with Kinnear by telling him what he does for a living, he winds up enlisting Kinnear in one of his jobs. Davis co-stars as Kinnear’s faithful wife Bean. Buzz: Brosnan told Entertainment Weekly that this movie was like “the worst day in James Bond’s life.” It should be a good departure for the retiring 007. The Hollywood Reporter reviewed this film when it played at Sundance and though reviewer Kirk Honeycutt praised the chemistry between Kinnear and Brosnan, he went on to say that the film struggles to find its story.Web site: NA

“The New World” (note: This film has moved to Dec. 25).
Starring: Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, August Schellenberg, Wes Studi, David Thewlis, Yorick van Wageningen, Q'orianka Kilcher, Will WallaceDirector: Terrence MalickStory: Farrell stars as explorer John Smith and newcomer Kilcher co-stars as Pocahontas in this epic adventure about the clash between Native Americans and English settlers in 17th century Jamestown, Virginia. Bale (“Batman Begins”) co-stars as English tobacco farmer John Rolfe. Plummer plays the colony’s first governor. Buzz: This is only Malick’s (“Badlands” and “Thin Red Line”) fourth film, and with his singular vision it’s hard not to get excited about it. Malick is known for creating incredible visuals (rent “Days of Heaven” for incredible cinematography by Néstor Almendros). The filmmakers primarily used natural light to film scenes in “The New World” and completely rebuilt replicas of the original ships and James Fort. On the bad news side, Farrell is an actor with a lot of baggage. Between starring in the bomb “Alexander” and trying to suppress his sex tape, it’s hard to take Farrell that seriously these days. Of course, this movie could change that. We could see Kilcher’s name in the best actress category come Oscar time. Web site:  http://www.thenewworldmovie.com/

Paramount Pictures

“Bee Season”
Starring: Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Flora Cross, Max Minghella, Kate BosworthDirector: Scott McGehee, David SiegelStory: Based on the novel by Myla Goldberg, newcomer Cross stars as a 9-year-old girl who suddenly begins to excel at spelling bees. Her father (Gere) thinks Jewish mysticism may be behind it. Binoche co-stars as Cross’ driven, scientist mom, while Minghella (son of “English Patient” director Anthony) plays her talented brother, who usually gets the attention. The spelling bee wins put the family into a tailspin and family secrets get revealed. Can faith hold the family together?  Buzz: The film “Spellbound” proved that spelling bees can be truly exciting to watch. Writer-director team McGehee and Siegel are the team behind “The Deep End” (well worth renting), which means intense family drama isn’t foreign territory for them. Gere continues to be one of the most watchable actors around and should shine here. While this film probably won’t win awards, it looks to provide an enjoyable couple of hours.Web site: NA

Columbia Pictures

“Zathura”
Starring: Tim Robbins, Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Dax Shepard, Kristen StewartDirector: Jon FavreauStory: Based on the book of the same name by “Jumanji” author Chris Van Allsburg, this is the story of two squabbling kids (Hutcherson, Bobo) who find a board game that takes them into another world full of space meteors and giant robots. The boys’ sibling rivalry subsides as they begin to appreciate each other. Robbins plays the boys’ father. Buzz: Faverau (“Elf”) makes his second kids’ film in a row with this one — what happened to the hipster who made “Swingers”? (Well, he got married and had a kid.) Though this isn’t specifically a sequel to “Jumanji,” the studio had hoped, originally, that Robin Williams would return. With no big star like Ferrell or Williams to anchor it, it will be interesting to see if Faverau’s sweet tale will find an audience. Web site:  http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/zathura/

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Robert Hardy, Shirley Henderson, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes Director: Mike NewellStory: In this installment of J.K. Rowling’s series, Potter (Radcliffe) participates in a mysterious wizardry tournament that involves two other schools. Harry goes to watch the World Cup of Quidditch with friends Hermione (Watson) and Ron (Grint). Fiennes comes aboard as the oh-so-evil Voldemort, who gets reborn in a fairly grotesque way. A few things have been cut from the very long book, including Hermoine’s attempts to liberate Hogswarts’ indentured house elves.  Buzz: Alfonso Cuarón convinced Newell to take over in the director’s chair and Newell subsequently convinced the studio not to break the book into two films. Newell (“Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Donnie Brasco”) makes his first foray into fantasy filmmaking. The kids continue to look like they’re getting too old for their roles, but they keep hanging in. It will be interesting to see what Radcliffe, Grint and Watson end up doing once these films end. David Yates (HBO’s “The Girl in the Café”) has been tapped to direct 2007’s “Order of the Phoenix”).Web site:  http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/gobletoffire/index.html

“Walk the Line”
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Patrick, Ginnifer Goodwin, Shelby Lynne, Hailey Anne NelsonDirector: James MangoldStory: Phoenix stars as the Man in Black in this biopic that traces his early beginnings on an Arkansas farm to his rise to fame. It also reveals the secrets behind his story, such as Cash's amphetamine addiction and his troubled marriage to his first wife (Goodwin).  Witherspoon co-stars as June Carter, the country star and comedian who toured with Cash and eventually ended up marrying him. Buzz: Tons of Oscar buzz surrounds Phoenix’s performance — though Jamie Foxx’s win for a musical biopic last year with “Ray” might prevent Phoenix from actually taking home the trophy. There are parallels between Cash losing a brother and Phoenix’s loss of brother, River. However, Phoenix told Newsweek that reports that he had a breakdown during a pivotal scene about Cash's brother's death were, “bulls—t.” Mangold is best known as the director of “Girl, Interrupted” and “Cop Land.” Web site: NA

“Pride and Prejudice”
Starring: Keira Knightley, Matthew MacFadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Jena Malone, Judi Dench, Tom Hollander, Rosamund Pike, Talulah Riley, Penelope Wilton, Simon WoodsDirector: Joe WrightStory: It's based, of course, on the Jane Austen classic. Knightley stars as Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters whose mother (Blethyn) is determined to see married. When Mr. Bingley (Woods) moves into the neighborhood, bringing along the dashing and rich Mr. Darcy (MacFadyen), one sister may find love while another finds disappointment. Buzz: The real question about this one is whether MacFadyen will have any success of wiping out the memory of Colin Firth in the BBC miniseries of this story (answer: not likely). Knightley has the tomboy spirit to really make her portrayal of Bennet work (she’d make an excellent Jo in a “Little Women” remake — not that we need another one of those). This is Wright’s feature debut.Web site:  http://www.prideandprejudicemovie.net/home.html