BESOTTED: Jim Chiros, Susan Gibney, Liam Waite, Amy Wright, Holly Angell Hardman (Directed by Holly Angell Hardman; Artistic License Films) In a quaint New England village, the town drunk has a crush on the earthy owner of a lobster boat who, in turn, has her hopes pinned on a Harvard student with tons of money. As if writer-director Holly Angell Hardman didn't have enough to cope with trying to make this story end happily ever after, she also plays the role of a sorceress. Opens 11-1

THE CORE: Hilary Swank, Aaron Eckhart, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci, DJ Qualls, Bruce Greenwood, Alfre Woodard, Tcheky Karyo, Nicole Leroux, Richard Jenkins, Gregory Bennett, Dion Johnstone, Christopher Shyer, Jennifer Spence (Directed by Jon Amiel; Paramount) Listen up--the center of the earth has stopped rotating, and if we don't get a team of scientists in there with a mega-bomb right away, it's curtains for mother planet and all her children. As for me, I'm not sure Hilary and Aaron can carry the movie, much less save the world. Opens 11-1

I SPY: Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, Malcolm McDowell, Gary Cole, Viv Leacock, Phill Lewis, Darren Shahlavi (Directed by Betty Thomas; Columbia Pictures) Based on a 60's thriller sitcom series you'd expect to be forever forgotten, this probable franchise teams Murphy as a brash professional boxer and Wilson as a slapsticky secret operative. Together they've got to recover a stolen stealth fighter. How timely can you get? Opens 11-1

LOVE IN THE TIME OF MONEY: Steve Buscemi, Jill Hennessy, Michael Imperioli, Rosario Dawson, Adrian Grenier, Malcom Gets, Carol Kane, Vera Farmiga, Domenick Lombardozzi (Directed by Peter Mattei; THINKfilm) When a telephone psychic and a Wall Street trader settle down to some hot, illicit sex, stand by for fireworks. And this odd coupling is just one of many in first-time director Peter Mattei's up-to-the-minute, Manhattan-set reworking of Arthur Schnitzler's "Reigen" and Max Ophuls' "La Ronde." Opens 11-1

THE SANTA CLAUSE 2: Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, Eric Lloyd, David Krumholtz, Spencer Breslin, Wendy Crewson, Judge Reinhold, Kevin Pollak, Molly Shannon (Directed by Michael Lembeck; Buena Vista Pictures) I started to type something about the story-line of this precious comedy, but then I started to gag and simply couldn't stop. So you'll have to look elsewhere for the details. Opens 11-1

THE WEIGHT OF WATER: Sean Penn, Sarah Polley, Catherine McCormack, Elizabeth Hurley, Vinessa Shaw, Josh Lucas, Katrin Cartlidge, Ciaran Hinds, Ulrich Thomsen, Anders Berthelsen (Directed by Kathryn Bigelow; Lions Gate) You get two stories for the price of one in this highly emotional thriller. One, set in the present, centers on the souring marriage of Penn and McCormack; the other, set in the 19th century, probes the mystery of a double murder that Polley claims to have witnessed. The movie played Toronto in 2000, generating not much buzz among festivalgoers. Opens 11-1

FEMME FATALE: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Antonio Banderas, Peter Coyote, Eriq Ebouaney, Edouard Montoute, Rie Rasmussen, Thierry Fremont (Directed by Brian De Palma; Warner Bros.) Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, as the exceedingly glam wife of the United States Ambassador to France, isn't quite the lady she pretends to be, and when a member of the paparazzi (Banderas) uncovers the naked truth about her criminal past, he is not quite the gentleman she would like him to be. So is somebody going to shoot the cameraman? And here's another question: how many movies per year does Banderas make? Opens 11-6

8 MILE: Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy, Mekhi Phifer,Eugene Byrd, Taryn Manning, Omar Benson Miller (Directed by Curtis Hanson; Universal) Eminem makes his long-awaited big-screen debut as a Detroit kid with a sensitive soul and a sewer mouth who's determined to ride his love of rap to superstardom. Hey, didn't Mariah Carey already do this? Opens 11-8

FAR FROM HEAVEN: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson, Viola Davis, James Rebhorn, Celia Weston (Directed by Todd Haynes; Focus Features) When a lovely, affluent, impeccably groomed Connecticut housewife pays a surprise visit to her husband's office and finds him kissing another man, she's so stunned that she recommends psychotherapy, quite a shocking suggestion coming, as it does, from a sheltered lady of the fifties. Equally shocking for the times is her turning to her sensitive black gardener for consolation when hubby's therapy turns out to be a bust. Does this sound like an updating of Sirkian themes? It is, and previewers are saying that the work by director Haynes and the star-crossed trio of Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid and Dennis Haysbert is on the mark. In what might well be the first of many awards, Moore was voted Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival. Opens 11-8

GOD IS GREAT, I'M NOT: Audrey Tautou, Edouard Baer, Mathieu Demy, Julie Depardieu, Catherine Jacob, Philippe Laudenbach, Cathy Verney, Anna Koch, Max Tzwangue (Directed by Pascale Bailly; Empire Pictures) Audrey Tautou, who proved how triumphantly take-charge she can be in "Amelie," plays a Buddhist model who converts to Judaism for the man she loves, only to discover that he is not as Jewish as she would like him to be. Why does this make me think of Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher? Opens 11-8

INTERVIEW WITH THE ASSASSIN: Raymond J. Barry, Dylan Haggerty,Kelsey
Kempher, Lillias White, Kate Williamson, Jack Tate, Dennis Lau (Directed by Neil
Burger; Magnolia Pictures) Who really killed JFK? Just when you thought you'd
heard every conspiracy theory, here comes another, centering on a maybe
murderous, maybe just plain loony marine veteran. Opens 11-8

THE RISING PLACE: Laurel Holloman, Elise Neal, Mark Webber, Liam Aiken, Bill Campbell, Gary Cole, Alice Drummond, Frances Fisher, Mason Gamble, Beth Grant, Tess Harper, Jennifer Holliday, Frances Sternhagen, Marco St. John (Directed by Tom Rice; Warner Bros.) It's 1940, and while the storm clouds gather overseas, an unmarried woman prepares to give birth to the the child of a soldier who may never return. What's even more disturbing to some of her neighbors is the white mother-to-be's close friendship with a black woman. Opens 11-8

SLAP HER, SHE'S FRENCH: Piper Perabo, Jane McGregor, Trent Ford, Michael McKean, Julie White, Brandon Smith, Jesse James, Nicki Aycox, Aexandra Adi, Matt Czuchry, Cristen Coppen (Directed by Melanie Mayron; The Premiere Marketing & Distribution Group) Poor Piper Perabo. She's fresh, talented, and all-American beautiful, yet she continues to be swept up in garbage like "Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle," "Coyote Ugly" and "Lost and Delirious." Maybe she'll fare better in this feather-brained comedy about a French exchange student bent on becoming la premiere cheerleader in a Texas high school, but I've got my doubts. Opens 11-8

ARARAT: Bruce Greenwood, Charles Aznavour, Eric Bogosian, Brent Carver, Marie-Josee Croze, Arsinee Khanjian, Elias Koteas, David Alpay, Christopher Plummer, Raoul Bhaneja (Directed by Atom Egoyan; Miramax) In a departure from his customary crisp, enigmatic, intensely visual style, Atom Egoyan--a Canadian with Armenian roots--employs a talky, plot-heavy technique to tell his story of a movie-within-a-movie about the 1915 mass extermination of Armenians by the Turks. The writer-director's wife, Arsinee Khanjian, plays a tormented scholar who is hired by an Armenian director (Charles Aznavour) to be a consultant on the film, which is being shot in Toronto, her hometown. Meanwhile, she is being accused by her stepdaughter (Marie-Josee Croze)--who is being wooed by her natural-born son (David Alpay)--of murdering the girl's father. That sub-plot, so far as I'm concerned, sounds dramatic enough to be the basis for a movie-within-a-movie-within-a movie. Opens 11-15

HALF PAST DEAD: Steven Seagal, Morris Chestnut, Ja Rule, Nia Peeples, Claudia Christian, Tony Plana, Alexandra Kamp-Groeneveld, Bruce Weitz, Linda Thorson (Directed by Don Michael Paul; Screen Gems) All you Steven Segal fans out there--this one's for you! The pumped-up star, who seems to be as menaced by bad guys in real life as he is on screen, is back in action as an undercover FBI agent who goes on death row to find out where a sleaze-bag slotted for execution has stashed $200 million in gold. Opens 11-15

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, Ian Hart, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Zoe Wanamaker, Tom Felton, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs (Directed by Chris Columbus; Warner Bros.) It's about this kid who's twice as smart as the adults around him and far too cute for words. Opens 11-15

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN: (Directed by Paul Justman; Artisan Entertainment) The word is that even if you don't know Motown from Bluegrass, you'll quickly surrender to the upbeat drive of this documentary about the Funk Brothers, a group of musicans who started out with Berry Gordy when he set up his studio in the basement of his Detroit home and stayed with him for 14 years, doing incomparable back-up for such stars as Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder and other Motown immortals. Archival material is combined with current footage of the band reminiscing and--best of all--making music. Opens 11-15

DIE ANOTHER DAY: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Rick Yune, John Cleese, Judi Dench, Michael Madsen (Directed by Lee Tamahori; UA/MGM) Brosnan is 007 for the fourth time, Dench is back as his boss, and Berry promises to be one of the best bad Bond girls ever. Let's hope Madsen, the best of the bad boys in "Reservoir Dogs," gets a chance to strut his vicious stuff. Opens 11-22

THE EMPEROR'S CLUB: Kevin Kline, Steven Culp, Embeth Davidtz, Patrick Dempsey, Joel Gretsch, Edward Herrmann, Emile Hirsch, Rob Morrow, Harris Yulin, Paul Dano, Jesse Eisenberg, Rishi Mehta, Roger Rees, Rahul Khanna (Directed by Michael Hoffman; Universal) Kevin Kline, a professor with a passion for Greek philosophy, tries to convert rebel-student Hirsch to his academic way of thinking and behaving, but lives to regret it. Hope I'm wrong, but this sounds like a (who-needs-it?) homage to "Dead Poets Society." Opens 11-22

FRIDAY AFTER NEXT: Ice Cube, Mike Epps, John Witherspoon, Don "D.C." Curry, Anna Maria Horsford (Directed by Marcus Raboy; New Line) As if you hadn't already gotten enough of them in "Next Friday," Ice Cube and Mike Epps are back as cousins who court trouble--this time in a shopping mall, where someone has unaccountably hired them as security guards. Could the fourth in the series at least take place on Saturday? Opens 11-22

PERSONAL VELOCITY: Kyra Sedgwick, Parker Posey, Fairuza Balk, David Warshofsky, Brian Tarantina, Mara Hobel, Leo Fitzpatrick, Tim Guinee, Wallace Shawn, Joel de la Fuente, Ron Liebman, Josh Phillip Weinstein, Ben Shankman, Lou Taylor Pucci, Seth Gilliam, David Patrick Kelly, Patti DiLArbanville, Jon Ventimiglia (Directed by Rebecca Miller; MGM/UA) Unlike her Pulitzer Prize-winning father, Arthur Miller, and her Oscar-winning husband, Daniel Day-Lewis, Rebecca Miller is not yet a household name, a situation that may change when the writer-directoriLs drama about three women at emotional crossroads makes its theatrical debut. A competitor at the 2002 Sundance Festival, it won the Grand Jury Prize and the Cinematography Award. Opens 11-22.

THE QUIET AMERICAN: Michael Caine, Brendan Fraser, Do Hai Yen, Rade Serbedzija, Quang Hai (Directed by Phillip Noyce; Miramax) An assortment of American, French and British citizens who have traveled a great distance and are not exactly what they seem to be, get caught up in the struggle for political control of Vietnam in 1952. In the process, the lives of a jaded journalist (Michael Caine), a gung-ho do-gooder (Brendan Fraser), and a Saigon nightclub hostess (the outrageously beautiful Do Hai Yen) are radically changed. Phillip Noyce, whose "Rabbit-Proof Fence" opens on 11-29, directed Christopher Hampton's adaptation of the Graham Greene novel. People who caught the film at the Toronto Festival say that Michael Caine is a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination. Opens 11-22

TALK TO HER: Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Rosario Flores, Geraldine Chaplin, Mariola Fuentes, Lola Duenas, Beatriz Santiago, Paz Vega, Fele Martinez, Adolfo Fernandez, Elena Anaya, Loles Leon (Directed by Pedro Almodovar; Sony Pictures Classics) When a man is given the responsibility of looking after a beautiful ballet student who has long been in a coma, he may brush her hair, change her gown and even tell her stories, but it is strictly against the rules of the stuffy clinic for him to make love to her. This, however, is a film by Pedro Almodovar, an artist not known for playing by the rules. If the talk about "Talk" is true, this comedy-laced drama--which also focuses on a grief-stricken journalist and the comatose lady bullfighter with whom he is passionately in love--is the maverick Spanish director's most daring and haunting film to date. Opens 11-22

ADAM SANDLER'S 8 CRAZY NIGHTS: Animated feature with the voices of Adam Sandler, Jackie Titone, Austin Stout, Rob Schneider, Tyra Banks, Jon Lovitz (Directed by Seth Kearsley; Columbia Pictures) This seems to be about a spry old codger who teaches a young marketing nerd how to manage the New York Knicks. And why shouldn't it be? Opens 11-27

EXTREME OPS: Rufus Sewell, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Heino Ferch, Devon Sawa, Rupert Graves, Joe Absolom, Jana Pallaske, Jean-Pierre Castaldi, Klaus Lowitsch (Directed by Christian Duguay; Paramount) A film crew shooting extreme-sports daredevils doing their dangerous thing in the Austrian Alps stumble upon the hideout of a Serbian madman, setting into motion a shooting of an even more dangerous kind. Opens 11-27

SOLARIS: George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Jeremy Davies, Viola Davis, Ulrich Tukur (Directed by Steven Soderbergh; USA Films) Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 film of the Stanislaw Lem novel dealing with life and death--here and hereafter--on a mysterious oceanic planet was hailed by critics as a masterpiece. But since so few Americans saw that Soviet epic, Soderbergh and Clooney don't have to worry about comparisons any more than they did with the remake of "Ocean's Eleven." But it's a shame they couldn't talk Julia Roberts into coming along for the ride. Opens 11-27

TREASURE PLANET: Animated feature with the voices of Brian Murray, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Thompson, David Hyde Pierce, Martin Short, Roscoe Lee Browne, Michael Wincott (Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker; Buena Vista) An undobtedly faithful adaptation of Robert Lewis Stevenson's "Treasure Island" that just happens to be set in outer space. Where are Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper when you really need them? Opens 11-27

DRUMLINE: Nick Cannon, Zoe Saldana, Orlando Jones, Leonard Roberts, GQ, Jason Weaver, Earl Poitier, Candace Carey, Shay Roundtree, Omar J. Dorsey, Miguel Gaetan, J. Anthony Brown, Angela Gibbs, Tyreese Burnett, Brandon Christopher Hirsch (Directed by Charles Stone III; Fox) Can a Harlem street drummer make the grade by leading a band at a Southern university? Maybe, but it won't be easy. Opens 11-29

RABBIT-PROOF FENCE: Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, Laura Monaghan, David Gulpilil, Kenneth Branagh, Deborah Mailman, Jason Clarke, Ningali Lawford, Myarn Lawford, Garry McDonald, Roy Billing, Andrew S. Gilbert, Ken Radley (Directed by Phillip Noyce) This is the true story of three aboriginal girls who were snatched from their mothers by white colonialists and housed with racist strangers in the belief that they would eventually shed their aboriginality and become acceptable second-class citizens. (Australia's policy of abduction and incarceration was not completely abolished until the seventies.) The movie shows how the girls managed to escape and embark on a harrowing 1,200 mile journey home. Opens 11-29