Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini, John Turturro, Luis Guzman, Michael Rispoli, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Alex Kaluzhsky (Directed by Tony Scott; Written by David Koepp; Columbia)

One of the most entertaining and terrifying thrillers of 1974 was Joseph Sargent’s “The Taking of Pelham 123,” which was adapted by Peter Stone from John Godey’s novel. Here’s how New York Times critic Nora Sayre described the story line in her rave review: “Four highly efficient hoods hijack an IRT subway car and hold eighteen people hostage for a million dollars; if the city doesn't pay within an hour, one hostage will be shot a minute. The Transit Authority, the Police Department, the Mayor and his colleagues all go into frenzied but coordinated action, while the film cuts most expertly between the stalled car and its passengers, the T.A. Command Center, Gracie Mansion, and the city streets.” With director Tony Scott and screenwriter David Koepp in charge, we will once again be hurried along on a harrowing trip through the jangly streets and dark tunnels of the Big Apple. Denzel Washington will try on the role of the cool transit cop played by Walter Matthau in the original, John Travolta inherits Robert Shaw’s role of a sadistic hijacker, and James Gandolfini--on leave from Jersey--is the panicky Mayor of New York. Now Playing



Forest Whitaker, Brendan Fraser, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kevin Bacon, Andy Garcia, Julie Delpy, Emile Hirsch (Directed by Jieho Lee; Written by Jieho Lee and Bob DeRosa)

According to a Chinese proverb, the key components of human existence are happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. Or so say the makers of this film. To hammer home the point, writer-director Jieho Lee and co-author Bob DeRosa explore the emotionally charged stories of a banker (Forest “happiness” Whitaker), a gangster (Brendan “pleasure” Fraser), a pop performer (Sarah Michelle “sorrow” Gellar) and a doctor (Kevin “love” Bacon). The members of this quartet tangle and untangle with one another on their life-and-death trudge to spiritual fulfillment, helped and possibly hindered by their close encounters with a criminal mastermind played by Andy Garcia. Now Playing



Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Virginia Madsen, Christopher Eccleston, Cherry Jones, Joe Anderson, Aaron Abrams, Mia Wasikowska (Directed by Mira Nair; Written by Ronald Bass; Fox Searchlight)

Did you know that Amelia Earhart, who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and eventually went missing over the Pacific in 1937, had a torrid affair with Gene Vidal, the father of writer Gore Vidal? And that was while the ace aviatrix was said to be blissfully married to publisher George Putnam! But as director Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding”) will undoubtedly make clear to us, this pioneer feminist was never one to let stuffy rules get in her way. In a bit of inspired casting, Hilary Swank is Amelia; Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor are her husband and her lover, respectively; and Virginia Madsen is her husband’s first wife. To read about more new biopics, click here. Opens 10/23/09


Richard Gere, Timilee Romolini (Directed by Gregory Hoblit; Disney)

In one of his top performances, Richard Gere played a cool but unscrupulous lawyer who defended an altar boy accused of murdering a predatory bishop. The psychological thriller was called "Primal Fear" and it was released in 1996. Now Gere is reteaming with that film's director, Gregory Hoblit, on what sounds like a less chilling but possibly more inspiring project. For once, the actor will play a pure, real-life hero--Bruno P. Zehnder. The "P" stands for penguin, as well it should, for Zehnder, an uncompromising photographer, spent a great deal of his life photographing the surprisingly complex creatures in Antarctica--which is precisely what he was doing just before his death in a blizzard. Opening date to be announced



Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti, James McAvoy, Anne-Marie Duff (Directed by Michael Hoffman; Written by Jay Parini; Notro Films)

Anthony Hopkins was set to play Count Leo Tolstoy, the author of "War and Peace" who was strugglig to live out his final days with dignity and grace. But somewhere along the line Hopkins dropped out and Christopher Plummer dropped in. Getting back to Leo--who on earth was making it difficult for him to travel a peaceful path into the hereafter? It was none other than Sofya Andreyevna, his luxury-loving, more warring than peaceful, wife. And--like Anthony Hopkins--Meryl Streep, cast as Sofya, made an exit, leaving her role to Helen Mirren. Paul Giamatti plays a loyal friend of Tolstoy's who does his best to rein in Sofya, James McAvoy plays Tolstoy's secretary, and Anne-Marie Duff--McAvoy's real-life wife--plays the tormented literary lion's daughter. Jay Parini's screenplay for "The Last Station" is based on his 1990 novel, which in turn was based on the actual diaries of the contentious Tolstoys and their piles of relatives and friends. The director here is Michael Hoffman, whose eclectic oeuvre includes “Soapdish” (Robert Downey Jr. & Sally Field), “Restoration” (Hugh Grant & Meg Ryan), and “One Fine Day" (George Clooney & Michelle Pfeiffer). To read about more movies based on books, click here; for more biopics, click here.


ADAM RESURRECTED: Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacobi, Aylet Zurer (Directed by Paul Schrader; Written by Noah Stollman) Unless you have access to Jerry Lewis’s private film collection, you probably have never seen “The Day the Clown Cried,” the 1972 holocaust drama in which the slapstick comic-director got tragic, playing a German entertainer who, while drunk, does a wicked impersonation of Hitler. His life is spared by the Nazis, however, and he is sent to a concentation camp where his job is to bring a little joy into the lives of Jewish children on their journey to the gas chamber. Small wonder the film never found a distributor and that Lewis opted to keep it out of sight. The wonder now is that what sounds like a strikingly similar story has been filmed and is on its way to your neighborhood art house. Based on a novel by Yoram Kaniuk, Noah Stollman’s screenplay focuses on a charismatic Nazi-era entertainer who performs for doomed concentration camp dwellers in the final hours of their lives. So what does he do after the war? He gets a gig as the boss of an asylum for Holocaust survivors. Jeff Goldblum plays the multi-talented showman and Willem Dafoe is his Hitlerian tormentor. Click here for Guy Flatley's 2001 interview with Dafoe. Now Playing



Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Hayley Atwell, Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon (Directed by Julian Jarrold; Written by Jeremy Brock and Andrew Davies; Miramax)

This is as good a time as any to revisit Captain Charles Ryder, the stylishly disenchanted protagonist of Evelyn Waugh’s 1946 classic seriocomic novel. Toward the end of World War II, Ryder (played by Jeremy Irons in a memorable 1981 British TV miniseries and now played by Matthew Goode) is stationed at Brideshead, a sprawling castle that was once home to the Flytes, an aristocratic Catholic--and exceedingly sinful--family. Ryder’s wartime assignment stirs memories of a long-ago time spent with the mad, mad residents of the castle, including Lord and Lady Marchmain (Michael Gambon and Emma Thompson) and particularly siblings Sebastian and Julia (Ben Whishaw and Hayley Atwell), one an eccentric who became Ryder’s good drinking buddy and the other a beautiful, married neurotic who became his illicit lover. Ryder, by the way, never felt guilty about cheating on his own wife, since he knew that she was caught up in her own little world of sexual deceit. Now Playing



Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kristin Wiig, Trini Alvarado, Philip Baker Hall, Diane Venora, Lily Rabe, John Cullum, Nick Offerman (Directed by Andrew Jarecki; Written by Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling and Marcus Hinchey; The Weinstein Co.)

Real estate is almost always a profitable game to play in Manhattan, but sometimes it can be murder. Literally, as it turns out in this thriller about a wealthy family that plays--and perhaps slays--together. The movie marks the fictional-feature debut of Andrew Jarecki, who directed “Capturing the Friedmans,” the chilling documentary about a very different sort of family. Opening date to be announced



Frank Langella, Elliott Gould, Laura Harring, Anabel Sosa, Helen Stenborg, Gregory Ellis, Axel Feldmann (Directed by Richard Ledes; Written by Richard Ledes and Alain Didier-Weill; Belladonna Productions)

Whistle blowers are, almost by definition, losers. They may experience a rush of pride, a flash of glory for their role in exposing the corrupt schemes and brutal deeds of their corporate bosses, but in the end they are the ones left without a job or friends to offer a supporting hand. Or sometimes--as in the case of Jimmy Stevens, a tell-all employee at a firm whose top executives are guilty of major criminal activity (including murder) in Latin America--they are left without much hope of staying alive. That’s why Jimmy (Frank Langella) hires Frank Turlotte, a quirky but reliable private eye (Elliott Gould) to keep tabs on people who might be tailing him. Before long, Turlotte suspects that the man he should be tailing is Jimmy Stevens himself. And it seems clear that the detective should not lose sight of the femme fatale played by Laura Harring (slinking back on track in the aftermath of all the schlock roles that followed her dynamite performance in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive.”) This noir thriller is one of what appears to be a trio of upcoming winners for veteran actor Frank Langella, the other two being “Frost/Nixon,” in which he creates his Tony Award performance as the disgraced Tricky Dicky, and “All Good Things,” a murder mystery from Andrew Jarecki, director of the terrific documentary, “Capturing the Friedmans.” And it’s good to have Elliott Gould back in what sounds like a role of substance. Click here for Guy Flatley's 1973 New York Times interview with Elliott Gould. Opening Date To Be Announced



Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman (Directed by Jim Sheridan; Written by David Benioff; Relativity Media)

There was a time when some moviegoers had difficulty telling the difference between Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal. Finally, we got the picture: Tobey was a climber of skyscrapers; Jake was a herder of sheep. More than ever, it will be important to tell the stars of “Spider-Man” and “Brokeback Mountain” apart in “Brothers,” a drama in which a dutiful young man goes off to combat in Afghanistan, leaving his wife and child in the care of a younger brother not known for his dependability. The four-square sibling is played by Maguire, and Gyllenhaal plays the rebel without a conspicuous cause. The role of the woman responsible for expanding their fraternal relationship into a love triangle has gone to Natalie Portman. “Brothers” is a remake, so if you’re eager for more details, check out Susanne Bier’s 2004 Danish-language film starring Ulrich Thomsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Connie Nielsen. Click here to read Diane Baroni's 2001 interview with Jake Gyllenhaal. Opening Date To Be Announced



Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Caine, William Fichtner, Eric Roberts (Written and directed by Christopher Nolan; Warner Bros.)

Batman (Christian Bale) and good-guy lawman James Gordon (Gary Oldman) have got trouble, BIG trouble, right here in Gotham city. This time, the sicko is played by Heath Ledger, the charismatic actor who recently died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. If you flipped for “Batman Begins” (2005), chances are that “The Dark Knight” will please you, since it too has been helmed by that film's director, Christopher Nolan, and many cast members are doing encores. Katie Holmes, however, does not return as delectable Rachel Dawes. That role, we’re pleased to say, has been inherited by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Now Playing