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NEW YORK, NEW YORK--IT’S A HELLUVA MOVIE TOWN

From Edward R. Murrow’s battle with Joseph McCarthy to Truman Capote’s traumatic encounters with a pair of killers sentenced to die, the fare was intriguingly varied at the 43rd New York Film Festival, which ran from 9/23/05 through 10/9/05. For a complete listing of features screened, click here and visit the official site of the New York Film Festival.

 

GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.: George Clooney, David Strathairn, Patricia Clarkson, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels, Frank Langella, Robert John Burke, Tate Donovan, Ray Wise, Matt Ross, Alex Borstein, David Christian, Thomas McCarthy, Glenn Morshower, Matt Ross, Reed Diamond, Simon Helberg (Directed by George Clooney; written by George Clooney and Grant Heslov; Warner Bros.) In the mid-1950’s, Senator Joseph McCarthy, a prime force behind the scary anti-red hearings and witch hunts, saw more subversives around more corners than did John Ashcroft in recent times. His long lists of Communist spies allegedly working in the government turned out to be lists of lies, but his tyrannical bullying destroyed many lives and careers before he was finally undone. One of the people responsible for his slide into shame was courageous, probing CBS News anchor Edward R. Murrow, played here by David Strathairn. Another was Fred Friendly, Murrow’s producer, who is portrayed by star/director Clooney, his first time to play both sides of the camera since his debut with “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” in 2002. "Good Night" is one of 19 films that will be shown in competition at the Venice Film Festival (8/31-9/10) and it will be the opening night attraction at the New York Film Festival on 9/23. To read about many more new biopics, click here. Now Playing

BREAKFAST ON PLUTO: Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson, Gavin Friday, Laurence Kinlan, Ruth Negga, Eamonn Owens, Ruth McCabe, Charlene McKenna, Neil Jackson, Morne Botes, Tony Devlin (Written and directed by Neil Jordan; Sony Pictures Classics) Who’s the sweetest, swingingest, sleep-around babe in all of 1970’s London? No contest--it’s Cillian Murphy, shown above. Yes, the virile young star of “28 Days” and “Red-Eye” plays Patrick “Pussy” Braden, the bastard son of an Irish priest (Liam Neeson) who escapes the poverty and grief of Tyreelin, Ireland, and soon succeeds, more or less, in becoming an exceedingly popular transvestite prostitute, a favorite among British politicians, soldiers and just plain blokes. Based on Pat McCabe’s novel, this festival centerpiece was written and directed by Neil Jordan, a man who proved that he knows how to blur sexual boundaries in “The Crying Game.” Opens in theaters on 11/18

HIDDEN (CACHE): Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Benichou, Annie Girardot, Lester Makedonsky, Bernard Le Coq, Walid Afkir, Daniel Duval, Nathalie Richard (Directed by Michael Haneke; Sony Pictures Classics) The stars of "The Widow of St. Pierre" reteam in this psychological thriller about the host of a literary TV show who receives a series of disturbingly intimate videos of himself, his wife, and other family members. Who could be sending him these mysterious gifts, and for what purpose? Michael Haneke is the unsparing director who unnerved us with "The Piano Teacher," so be prepared to gasp as you watch. "Hidden," which was enthusiastically received at the 2005 Cannes Festival, will be the closing night attraction in New York. Opens in theaters on 12/23

TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK AND BULL STORY: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Jeremy Northam, Shirley Henderson, Gillian Anderson, Stephen Fry, Ian Hart, Kelly Macdonald, Naomie Harris, Bob Brydon, Elizabeth Berrington, James Fleet, Kieran O’Brien, Stephen Rodrick (Directed by Michael Winterbottom, Written by Martin Hardy; Picturehouse Films) “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman,” Laurence Sterne’s stubbornly uncategorizable 18th-century classic, is a dark, bawdy, frequently hilarious work of art that no sane director would dare attempt to translate to film. Yet that’s what Michael Winterbottom, the daring auteur of “Jude,” “Welcome to Sarajevo,” “Wonderland,” “24 Hour Party People,” “9 Songs” and the upcoming “Road to Guantanamo,” has done. Or so it seems. The film, said to be respectful, bold and smashingly entertaining, mixes passages from the novel depicting Shandy’s outrageous life and times with contemporary scenes showing the frustration and panic of the cast and crew as they struggle to complete their absurd shoot. Jeremy Northam, a much underrated actor, drew the plum role of director Michael Winterbottom (who, for reasons unknown, answers to the name of Mark in the movie). Opens in theaters on 1/29/06.

THE SQUID AND THE WHALE: Laura Linney, Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Anna Paquin, Billy Baldwin, Halley Feifer (Written and directed by Noah Baumbach) Dad set out to be the great American novelist, or at least the great Brooklyn novelist. Instead, he’s settled into being a not particularly great schoolteacher. Mom, on the other hand, is suddenly showing distinct signs of literary talent. And that’s not all. Mom is having a love match with their younger son’s tennis coach; Dad is engaging in extracurricular activities with the cute co-ed his older son dreams of bedding. Can this family be saved--and, more to the point, should it be? Now Playing

CAPOTE: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr., Mark Pellegrino, Bruce Greenwood, Chris Cooper, Amy Ryan, Bob Balaban (Directed by Bennett Miller; Written by Dan Futterman; Sony Pictures Classics) To the rich and beautiful Manhattanites who blackballed him, Truman Capote was a brilliant, flamboyantly gay gossip who charmed them with fluff like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” but eventually told one too many scandalous tales out of school to be trusted; to devotees of juicily ripe southern-gothic yarns, he was cherished for “Other Voices, Other Rooms,” his debut novel, published when he was 23; to literary critics and just-plain-readers, Capote is best remembered for “In Cold Blood,” a masterful depiction of the murder of a Kansas family and a disturbingly sympathetic study of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, the young drifters responsible for the bloodbath. In 1967, Richard Brooks turned this real-life story into a searing film, one that contained a memorable performance in the role of homicidal Perry Smith by Robert Blake. In researching his book, Capote, played here by the remarkably versatile Philip Seymour Hoffman (shown above), developed an intense rapport with Smith (acted by Clifton Collins Jr. on this occasion), and “Capote” is expected to devote extensive footage to their bonding experience. Capote’s close friend, Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” will be played by Catherine Keener. And if you think this will be the only film to portray Capote during the turbulent time of “In Cold Blood, ” you obviously haven’t heard about “Have You Heard?.” For a New York Times article on the two Capote movies, click here; to read about many more new biopics, click here. Now Playing