Sept. 12: “Burn After Reading” Brad Pitt and John Malkovich match wits in a comic thriller about a CIA employee (Malkovich) blackmailed by two personal trainers (Pitt and Frances McDormand). Also with George Clooney.
Sept. 17: “Righteous Kill” Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, each taunted for recent role choices, decide two aging icons are better than one as a pair of cops investigating a string of related homicides. “The Women” Meg Ryan, Bette Midler, Eva Mendes and Annette Bening try to measure up to Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford in this remake of the 1939 George Cukor classic.
Sept. 26: “Miracle at St. Anna” Spike Lee tells the true story of four black soldiers trapped behind enemy lines in Italy during WWII.
Oct. 3: “Blindness” Disease causes blindness for everyone except Julianne Moore, making the future of network television sound promising. With Mark Ruffalo and Gael Garcia Bernal.
Oct. 10: “City of Ember” Bill Murray is the mayor of a post-apocalyptic city buried far underground, from producer Tom Hanks. “Body of Lies” Ridley Scott fills the fall need for frantic cell phone usage in this CIA-vs.-terrorists potboiler starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe.
Oct. 17: “W.” Looks like we'll have to wait for the 43rd director's cut of “Alexander” as Oliver Stone has been busy profiling the 43rd president. Josh Brolin twirls his tongue around the malapropisms; Richard Dreyfuss shoots straight as Dick Cheney; and Toby Jones cackles maniacally as Karl Rove. Only question: Why not James Brolin as H.W.?
Oct. 24: “Synecdoche, New York” Charlie Kaufman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) makes his directorial debut with a down-to-Earth story about a stage director (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who learns to live within limitations. Just kidding: He builds a life-sized New York City in a warehouse and casts actors to play everyone he knows, of course.
Oct. 31: “Changeling” With so many surefire elements — Cannes accolades, Clint Eastwood directing, early 20th-century Hollywood location, Angelina Jolie starring — this one is already on the short list for mind-numbingly endless yet futile Oscar speculation.
Nov. 5: “Frost/Nixon” No telling how Ron Howard will ultimately handle the cerebral Peter Morgan play about Tricky Dick (Frank Langella) and David Frost (Michael Sheen), but early screenplay drafts had Nixon growing up in Mayberry and trying out for NASA.
Nov. 7: “Quantum of Solace” Daniel Craig's 007 may be too modern for some tastes, but Bond girls will always look like Playboy models circa 1985.
Nov. 14: “Australia” Why not just call it “Out of Australia”? Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, directed by Baz Luhrmann. No dingoes, no babies.
Nov. 26: “Milk” Gus Van Sant returns to tell the story of Harvey Milk, the openly gay San Francisco supervisor assassinated in 1978. With Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch and James Franco. “The Road” Time to compare Cormac McCarthy adaptations as director John Hillcoat (“The Proposition”) puts this McCarthy post-apocalyptic tale on film. But will the haircuts be as funny as in “No Country for Old Men”? With Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce.
Dec. 19: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” Brad Pitt ages backward for director David Fincher (“Fight Club”), in a premise seen for the first time since “Mork & Mindy.” Based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald (who absolutely loved Pitt in “Thelma and Louise”).
Dec. 26: “Revolutionary Road” Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet try to rekindle their “Titanic” magic with director Sam Mendes' (“American Beauty”) film about a miserable middle-class marriage. Sort of answers what would have happened if they'd both survived that shipwreck.