Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have churned out yet another superb season premiere, their fourth, of How I Met Your Mother (airing Sept. 22 at 8:30/7:30c on CBS), with one minor hitch: To explain anything at length about the episode is to walk a spoiler-alert tightrope!
HIMYM fans--of which there are far too few--can probably find out all the details through a rather cursory Google search if they so desire, but in the interest of preserving a little season-premiere excitement, I’ll refrain from spoiling.
I will say this, however: There are two major developments in the season premiere--and they don’t involve the identity of the title “mother” or Britney Spears, who will apparently not be returning after her multi-episode stint last season.
Here’s what’s been going on with the group since we last saw them, in the paraphrased words of Ted (Josh Radnor): Marshall (Jason Segel) is coping with unemployment while getting on everyone else’s nerves; Lilly (Alyson Hannigan) has thrown herself into her painting; Robin (Cobie Smulders) is still upholding the very low standards of Metro News 1; and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) has almost fully recovered from the bus accident we saw in the season-three finale, but something’s definitely not right about him since the injury.
And oh, right--Ted! Last season ended with him proposing to Stella (Scrubs’ Sarah Chalke), whose decision we finally learn tonight.
That two momentous revelations are unveiled in this episode are reason enough to watch; typically the show would drag such developments out for the whole season and save their resolutions (or dissolutions) for the season finale.
It’s an encouraging sign. It’s also encouraging to see that nothing much has changed from a top-notch season three: Co-creators Bays and Thomas (both former Late Show with David Letterman staff writers) find the humor amidst the drama that is yuppie living--and they do so, in my opinion and probably only my opinion, better than Friends used to.
Of course, the acting doesn’t hurt. Harris makes his womanizing Barney hard to stay grossed-out at, mostly because Harris doesn’t take him so far into sitcom-character land that it’s impossible to believe when he comes back to reality. It’s just one reason he was nominated for an Emmy, and should absolutely win.
The rest of the actors excel at being relatable--and hilarious. Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), whose big-screen career is taking off, seems to strike that balance best, but everyone else is right there with him. As for Radnor…we all know a Ted Mosby, and that’s thanks to him as much as to the writing.
Bottom line: As far as straightaway, network-television-y sitcoms go, How I Met Your Mother remains arguably the best of the dying breed.
Britney Spears will definitely reprise her role on TV sitcom How I Met Your Mother, after signing a deal to appear in one more episode.
The pop star first appeared on the show last month, playing a lovesick secretary--and she'll make her return to the small screen in an episode that is set to air on May 12.
The episode is scheduled to begin production on Monday and will feature Spears alongside the sitcom's star Neil Patrick Harris, as their characters continue their on-screen love affair.
In a new statement, the show's executive producer and co-creator Craig Thomas says, "We're all so thrilled to have Britney joining us once again."
Spears' initial guest appearance on How I Met Your Mother helped the show earn its highest ratings.
COPYRIGHT 2008 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved.
A movie charting the story of rock band Joy Division swept the board at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) on Wednesday night, receiving five honors.
Control was nominated for 10 awards at the ceremony and took five of the gongs, including the coveted awards for best film and best director for Anton Corbijn.
The movie, which chronicles the life of the late Ian Curtis, who died in 1980, also won in the categories of best director debut, best supporting actor--for Toby Kebbell--and most promising newcomer, for actor Sam Riley.
Other winners at the star-studded London ceremony included Judi Dench, who took best actress for her role in Notes on a Scandal, and Viggo Mortensen, who was named best actor for Eastern Promises. James Bond star Daniel Craig received the Variety Award, and British actor Ray Winstone was honored with the Richard Harris Award.
The much-acclaimed film about the life of the Clash frontman Joe Strummer also received a nod, with Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten being named as best documentary. The award for best technical achievement went to Mark Tildesley for Sunshine, and The Lives of Others received the award of best foreign independent feature.
COPYRIGHT 2007 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved.
A billionaire TV producer (Robert Mammone) has a great idea for a reality show that he wants to put on the Internet and his goal is to beat the 40 million Super Bowl audience. He has compiled a crack team of young hip and immoral tech geeks directed by Goldman (Rick Hoffman) and puts cameras throughout a remote island where former prisoners are going to kill each other while audiences watch after shelling out the pay-per-view fee. The location is done on a remote secret island and the death row prisoners are bought from prisons around the world with the promise that the survivor gets to walk free. Among the contestants are a rogue Aussie named McStarley (Vinnie Jones) a martial arts expert (Masa Yamaguchi) a husband-and-wife team (Manu Bennett and Dasi Ruz) a monstrous killer who doesn't do much more than grunt (Nathan Jones) and others known only as The Italian The German and other monikers quickly forgotten. Enter the sole American Jack Conrad (Steve Austin) who's in a South American prison for some obscure reason and is recognized on TV by his wife (Madeleine West) who tries to save him. However it looks like Conrad is pretty good at helping himself. Don't expect the acting to be much more evolved than what could be seen among the World Wrestling Entertainment superstars especially since many of them were plucked from the ring to star in this morality tale. But Austin (who had in a strong cameo in Adam Sandler's Longest Yard) proves he has a sense of humor as well as strength. Vinnie Jones is ridiculously over-the-top as the Aussie who's the hand-picked winner of this game shown setting up alliances Survivor style only to turn on them later. The supporting cast are refreshingly entertaining but one-note caricatures both in the contest and running the contest. It's obvious that they aren't going to be around long but the actors do milk their tiny roles for every bit of attention they can get. Rick Hoffman as the brilliant camera mastermind of the project is both whiny sniveling and mean-spirited so when he joins some of the rest of the crew and suddenly develops a backbone and a conscience he ends up stealing the movie with his acerbic humor. But it's the understated American hero Conrad who holds a mirror up to the people who like to watch this stuff. Director Scott Wiper who co-wrote this story has also acted in similar movies like this (A Better Way to Die). It’s obvious he knows what he’s doing with The Condemned and develops a sense of voyeuristic angst like those of us who can't keep our eyes off a train wreck. Like the darkly subversive Belgian film Man Bites Dog the camera crew remains safely distant and remote until the reality directly involves them. Then the crew wonders "What the hell are we doing?" while the audience might be thinking "What the hell are we watching?" Much like Series 7: The Contenders Rollerball and other movies which show a dark and bloody near future this kind of reality doesn't seem too far away and maybe proves that movies which provide this type of gladiator spectacle target a certain segment of the human population who need to blow off steam.
New Bond girl Eva Green has been nominated for the Orange Rising Star Award at this year's British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards.
The French beauty, who stars opposite Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, has been shortlisted for the coveted prize along with Ben Whishaw (Perfume), Cillian Murphy (The Wind That Shakes the Barley), Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) and Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada).
The award is given annually to a young actor or actress who has shown exceptional on-screen talent and the winner will be announced at the 2007 BAFTA Awards, which takes place on Feb. 11.
Last year, The Last King of Scotland star James McAvoy picked up the prize.
COPYRIGHT 2007 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved.
Actor Neil Patrick Harris has ended mounting speculation about his sexuality, by revealing he is gay.
The How I Met Your Mother star was recently outed by a Web site, which claimed he helped his alleged boyfriend land a role in the sitcom.
His publicist Craig Snyder played down the reports, insisting "he's not of that persuasion". But Harris has revealed all to People magazine's website because of "speculation and interest in my private life and relationships".
He says, "(I) am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest."
Harris found fame as a young actor playing a teenage doctor in Doogie Howser, MD.
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Tom Cruise has been pop culture for the better part of two years now--save for the Pitt-Aniston-Jolie triangle--inviting both positive (War of the Worlds' success) and negative (tracking mud on Oprah's couch) press. It's no surprise then that Cruise's work and leisure activity are most ridiculed in Scary Movie 4. Following a Saw gag and Charlie Sheen cameo (finishing off his Scary Movie 3 role) the film stumbles upon a plot that's a cross between War of the Worlds The Grudge and The Village: deadbeat dad Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko) watches his kids for the weekend when aliens attack; in the neighboring haunted house Cindy (Anna Faris) is a caretaker who travels to a remote village in search of answers. Tom and Cindy fall for each other but after they're respective crises set in they'll have to weave through a spoof obstacle course before they can reunite. Faris got her feet wet with this franchise but she may have finally outgrown the recurring role as these roles are meant to either launch or restore careers. Nonetheless Faris one of the most talented comedic actresses handles it with true professionalism bringing her A-game of faux naïveté and star-quality beauty. Bierko tries his hand at comedy after his underappreciated turn in Cinderella Man. The result is a great Cruise send-up that boldly tackles the couch-jumping as seen on Oprah. Regina Hall reprising her role as Cindy's randy friend Brenda is given the worst role and acts accordingly. Likewise Leslie Nielsen--back as President Harris from SM3--provides little beyond a brief parody of George W. The rest of the cast--Bill Pullman Carmen Electra Chris Elliott Anthony Anderson and Michael Madsen et al--would fall in the aforementioned career-restoration category. After rescuing the Scary Movie franchise from a sub-$100 million gross with SM3 director David Zucker is given another go. And much like his Naked Gun--with old chum Nielsen--felt toward the end of its run this series is exhausted. Zucker--along with writers Craig Mazin and (frequent collaborator) Jim Abrahams--sets the audience up so many times for at least decent laughs before dropping the ball bailing out with physical pratfalls that bring to mind a cartoon. The disappointments are endless considering the director has deadpan masters at the ready and enough ammo for an abundance of celeb and/or movie gags although his jabs at Brokeback Mountain are so pre-Oscars. Of course he doesn't totally fail to deliver but it's only when he ceases relying on the Three Stooges bits that anything truly funny happens.
"Welcome to the layer cake son." As eloquently but vulgarly described by drug kingpin Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon) the layer cake is a how a criminal makes it to the top of well the crime pyramid. In this case the man who is fighting to get the top of the cake is known simply as "XXXX " which appropriately is only revealed when the film's credits roll at the end. Beleaguered-yet-authoritative XXXX (Daniel Craig) a savvy drug dealer resides comfortably between the top and middle layers and fancies himself clever to a fault. He holds nothing in higher regard than when a man gets out while at the top of his game. So with his latest and final assignment he hopes to be catapulted to the top so he can then leave it all behind. But the assignment--finding and rescuing Eddie Temple's daughter as well as unloading a crap load of stolen Ecstasy pills--turns out to be his biggest challenge to date truly testing his street smarts. And it will not come without betrayal deceit and ultimately bloodshed. By the end with one mind-bending twist after another he'll finally get his cake--and eat it too.
Daniel Craig is somewhat of an anomaly. It seems as though he could have grabbed leading-man status by now but instead is much more contented co-starring in critically acclaimed independent films such as The Mother and Sylvia or playing bad guys in films like Road to Perdition. But that may change with Layer Cake which truly showcases his range and certainly will garner him some attention. Even if Craig wants to take a snail's route to leading man land his impeccable looks and acting will eventually preclude him from toiling in the indie world and compel him to move over to the mainstream--or at least give him the option. And it may be happening already since Craig appears to be the frontrunner to succeed Pierce Brosnan as the next James Bond. The rest of Layer Cake's cast of colorful characters complement Craig's stellar performance including Colm
Meaney and George Harris as XXXX's tough henchman as well as the affably sinister Gambon as his adversary. Still its hard not to take your eyes off Craig whenever he is on screen.
"But what I really want to do is direct!" This is probably what first-time director Matthew
Vaughn has been saying all along. Vaughn has been making his way into the biz mostly in the producing arena heading up pal Guy Ritchie's films including Lock Stock and
Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. But with Layer Cake he has proven he is more than competent taking over as the auteur. Although the film is obviously heavily influenced by his association with Ritchie it looks like Vaughn may have done his friend one better taking the gangster premise and reviving it by giving it the proper fast-paced British treatment. Scattered throughout is perfectly placed comic relief and profound lines each of which is accentuated to a tee by Vaughn's apparent penchant for style. Although he shows just the right amount of restraint Vaughn makes almost every scene even those which would otherwise be mundane engrossing. Layer Cake is truly an achievement for a directorial debut and Matthew has received a well-deserved graduation gift as a result as he gets ready to direct the next X-Men film. Nice job Matt.
Moviegoers went Zoinks! over Scooby-Doo, launching it to $56.4 million, the biggest June opening ever. Warners plans to continue the franchise with a Scooby sequel in 2004.
The Bourne Identity kicked off strongly in second place to a better than expected $27.5 million. Windtalkers invaded third place, digging in with favorable exit polls and a hopeful $14.5 million.
Also driving the weekend were The Sum of All Fears in fourth place with $13.5 million and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in fifth with $9.8 million.
Ticket sales soared 27 percent ahead of this weekend last year. Key films -- those grossing $500,000 or more -- took in $164.5 million versus last year's $129.1 million.
THE TOP TEN
Warner Bros.' PG rated family comedy Scooby-Doo turned out to be one sizzling hot dog at the box office, opening to a record setting ESTIMATED $56.42 million at 3,447 theaters ($16,368 per theater).
Directed by Raja Gosnell, it stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini and Rowan Atkinson.
Scooby's average per theater was the highest for any film playing this weekend.
"It's the largest grossing June opening in motion picture history," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning. "The biggest June opening prior to this was Austin Powers (with $54.9 million for New Line's sequel Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me the weekend of June 11-13, 1999). It exceeds the best opening in Warner's June history, which was Batman Forever, our second Batman, (with $52.8 million the weekend of June 16-18, 1995)."
What accounts for Scooby's staggering success? "I think Scooby is a beloved character and it fits into a Looney Tunes mold (in that) it reaches audiences from eight to 80. There was such a fan base (that was even) deeper than we had anticipated. You know, Dan Romanelli and his Consumer Products Group (at Warner Bros.) have been pushing Scooby-Doo ever since they took over consumer product sales for Hanna-Barbera when (Warners) bought it. Scooby has been a big seller."
Focusing on the multiple areas at Warners that contributed to the film's blockbuster launch, Fellman pointed out that the result is a valuable new franchise with a Scooby sequel coming in two years. "It just shows," he said, "that you can take that synergy between consumer products, production, marketing and (television exposure on AOL Time Warner's) the Cartoon Network and build a new franchise. And that's what we've done. So we will have a Scooby-Doo 2 in 2004."
Universal's PG-13 espionage thriller The Bourne Identity arrived in second place, beating insider expectations with a muscular ESTIMATED $27.5 million at 2,638 theaters ($10,425 per theater).
Directed by Doug Liman, it stars Matt Damon.
"Aside from the fact that the production team really came through, I give a lot of credit to (marketing president) Adam Fogelson and his marketing team," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. "In the last two weeks they were able to take this genre film and separate it from the usual spy thrillers by making it look fresh and young and hip. Using director Doug Liman, who's known for (making films with an) independent flavor, that all jelled with the campaign, which got tremendous awareness over the past two weeks. So we were really very, very pleased."
Considering how unconventional Bourne is, Rocco noted, "It's really something to open a film at this level. Matt Damon demonstrates how very talented he is. This is Matt's biggest opening for a (film that for him is) a star vehicle. The other films he was in (that opened bigger like) Ocean's Eleven and Saving Private Ryan weren't really his vehicles. So (in terms of carrying) a film on his own, this is his biggest opening."
Damon, Rocco added, "did a tremendous amount of work to open it. He toured for two weeks on the road talking about the film. I give him a lot of credit because in a crowded marketplace you really have to stand out and that's just what happened. The campaign stood out and the talent stood out and here are the results. It's great. It was a pretty big challenge for us to open this picture in such an environment where there are such high profile films and such huge budgeted competition. So to reach this level of success is quite incredible."
MGM's R rated World War II drama Windtalkers opened in third place in the thick of the box office battle with an ESTIMATED $14.5 million at 2,898 theaters ($5,003 per theatre).
Directed by John Woo, it stars Nicolas Cage.
"It was a big weekend and at least we're in that top tier of movies, so that's good," MGM marketing and distribution president Bob Levin said Sunday morning. "Obviously, we would have liked to have done more business, but our exits show we have about a 55 percent male audience, about two-thirds of them over 25. In that over-25 group, they're very strong.
"They seemed to really like the movie -- so, hopefully, they'll stay with us. They didn't come out quite in the numbers that we hoped (they would) this weekend, but with the stunning performance of Scooby-Doo, maybe they decided to take their kids to see Scooby-Doo this weekend. We'll get 'em (in the weeks ahead). It's now (a matter of) digging in and trying to keep ourselves in that upper tier and just get the business."
Paramount's PG-13 rated thriller The Sum Of All Fears slid three pegs to fourth place in its third week, holding decently given its stiff new competition with an ESTIMATED $13.5 million (-30%) at 3,155 theaters (-63 theaters; $4,180 per theater). Its cume is approximately $84.5 million, heading for $100 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson and produced by Mace Newfeld, it stars Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman.
"I think $100 million is very safe now (as a domestic projection)," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. "I'd anticipated a more substantial drop this weekend given the competition that came in. But it seems that the market expanded to accommodate all three of these movies (that opened)."
Given the strength of the new films, Fears held quite well. "We're very happy with that hold," Lewellen said. "We were somewhat disappointed last week, not by the end result but last Saturday we got hurt by the (championship) fight and all the sporting activities (that were on television). But we came back on Sunday, so the weekend overall last week held up pretty well.
"We felt that was kind of the opening (to do business) before Bourne Identity and Windtalkers came in, which was certainly directed at our audience. But to hold to a 30 percent drop in the face of that level competition, we're very ecstatic with that, I'll tell you."
Warner Bros. and Gaylord Films' PG-13 rated drama Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood dropped three slots in its second week to fifth place with a less lively ESTIMATED $9.8 million (-39%) at 2,507 theaters (theater count unchanged; $3,909 per theater). Its cume is approximately $35.0 million.
Directed by Calle Khouri, it stars Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Fionnula Flanagan, James Garner, Ashley Judd, Shirley Knight, Angus MacFadyen and Maggie Smith.
20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm's PG rated franchise installment Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones slipped three rungs to sixth place in its fifth week with a quieter ESTIMATED $9.2 million (-34%) at 2,401 theaters (-760 theaters; $3,832 per theater). Its cume is approximately $270.5 million, heading for $300 million in domestic theaters.
Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace took in $431.1 million in domestic theaters. Its worldwide total (domestic plus international) was $923 million.
Directed by George Lucas, it stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen.
Columbia's PG-13 sci-fi fantasy blockbuster Spider-Man fell two pegs to seventh place in its seventh week, continuing to hold well with an ESTIMATED $7.4 million (-28%) at 2,705 theaters (-530 theaters; $2,739 per theater). Its cume is approximately $382.4 million heading for $400 million in domestic theaters.
Spidey had the lowest percentage drop of any film in this weekend's Top Ten.
Directed by Sam Raimi, it stars Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson and Rosemary Harris.
Buena Vista/Touchstone and Jerry Bruckheimer Films' PG-13 rated action film Bad Company skidded four notches in its second week to eighth place with a slow $6.1 million (-45%) at 2,944 theaters (theater count unchanged; $2,069 per theater). Its cume is approximately $21.8 million.
Directed by Joel Schumacher, it stars Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock.
DreamWorks' G rated animated feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron dropped two slots to ninth place in its fourth week with an uneventful ESTIMATED $5.5 million (-40%) at 2,873 theaters (-489 theaters; $1,931 per theater). Its cume is approximately $63.8 million.
Directed by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook, it was produced by Mireille Soria and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Universal and Imagine Entertainment's PG-13 rated urban appeal comedy Undercover Brother, down three rungs in its third week to a quiet ESTIMATED $4.64 million (-37%) at 1,832 theaters (-337 theaters; $2,530 per theater). Its cume is approximately $31.6 million.
Directed by Malcom D. Lee, it stars Eddie Griffin, Chris Kattan and Denise Richards. Its producers are Brian Grazer, Michael Jenkinson and Damon Lee.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Miramax's R rated classic drama Cinema Paradiso: The New Version with an okay ESTIMATED $27,000 at 3 theaters ($9,000 per theater).
Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, it stars Philippe Noiret.
Think Film's R rated dark comedy The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys opened quietly to an ESTIMATED $57,000 at 9 theaters ($6,356 per theater).
Directed by Peter Care, it stars Kieran Culkin.
Paramount Classics' romantic comedy The Emperor's New Clothes opened poorly to an ESTIMATED $8,000 at 2 theaters ($3,810 per theater).
Directed by Alan Taylor, it stars Ian Holm.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front this weekend IFC Films' PG rated romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding went wider in its ninth week with a still happy ESTIMATED $1.7 million at 453 theaters (+10 theaters; $3,745 per theater). Its cume is approximately $13.6 million.
Directed by Joel Zwick, it stars Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.
Miramax's PG rated comedy The Importance of Being Earnest widened quietly in its fourth week to an ESTIMATED $0.62 million at 180 theaters ($3,416 per theater). Its cume is approximately $3.4 million.
Directed by Oliver Parker, it stars Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O'Connor, Reese Witherspoon, Judi Dench and Tom Wilkinson.
Miramax said Earnest will expand to 250 theaters June 28.
Fine Line Features' R rated drama Cherish expanded in its second week with an unexciting ESTIMATED $46,000 at 25 theaters (+19 theaters; $1,825 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.1 million.
Written and directed by Finn Taylor, it stars Robin Tunney.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $164.54 million, up 27.4 percent from last year when they totaled $129.15 million.
Key films were up 56.54 percent from the previous weekend of this year when they grossed $105.11 million.
Last year, Paramount's opening week of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was first with $47.74 million at 3,308 theaters ($14,430 per theater); and Buena Vista/Disney's second week of Atlantis: The Lost Empire was second with $20.34 million at 3,011 theaters ($6,756 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $58.0 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $83.9 million.
The Jacqueline Susann biopic "Isn't She Great" comes to life this week with Bette Midler as the famed author.
Also opening wide this week is the Ewan McGregor-Ashley Judd psychological suspense thriller, "Eye of the Beholder."
Here's a list of all the films opening this week.
"Kestrel's Eye" (First Run) -- Directed by Swedish filmmaker Mikael Kristersson, this documentary chronicles the lives of a family of kestrels nesting in the tower of an old church. (Limited release)
"The Big Tease" (Warner Bros.) -- Scotsman Craig Ferguson plans to make his country proud when he is invited to the international hairdressing contest. He flies to Los Angeles only to discover that he is attending the event as an observer. (Limited release)
"The Cup" (Fine Line) -- The Bhutanese film follows two boys who are sent to a monastery in the foothills of the Himalayas. As they assimilate to the monastic life, one thing keeps intruding on their routine -- how can they get to watch the World Cup Finals? (Limited release)
"Eye of the Beholder" (Destination) -- Ewan McGregor stars as a British intelligence agent who is on a mission to shadow a murderous blackmailer played by Ashley Judd. (Wide release)
"Isn't She Great" (Universal) -- The real-life story depicting the vibrant, flamboyant and sometimes outrageous life of author Jacqueline Susann, who came to fame in the 1960s with the success of "The Valley of the Dolls." Bette Midler stakes the title role. (Wide release)
"Grizzly Falls" (Providence) -- When hunters capture her cubs, a grizzly bear retaliates by kidnapping the young son of a trapper portrayed by Bryan Brown. Rather than doing the boy any harm, the bear instead becomes his guide to the wilderness. Oliver Tobias, Daniel Clark and Richard Harris co-star. (Limited release)
"Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr." (Lions Gate) -- The subject of this portrait is the infamous Fred A. Leuchter Jr. -- the erstwhile engineer of death-row technology who disclaimed in 1988 the occurrence of the Holocaust. (Expanded release)
"Rear Window" (USA) -- Jimmy Stewart plays the housebound magazine photographer whose voyeuristic pastime unwittingly unravels a murder in the apartment facing his rear window. (Expanded release)
"Restaurant" (Palisades) -- At the center of a group of aspiring artists who make up the staff of a trendy Hoboken, N.J., restaurant is a longtime bartender played by Adrien Brody, a debuting playwright who is coping with the end of a recent romance. (Limited release)
"Stella Does Tricks" (Strand) -- Stella, a 15-year-old Glaswegian girl working as a prostitute in London, heads back to Glasgow with her new boyfriend and attempts to start a new life. However, she soon discovers the difficulty to break free of the cycle of abuse she has become trapped in. (Limited release)
"Topsy-Turvy" (USA) -- Directed by Mike Leigh, the film chronicles the bumpy collaboration of the writer-composer team Gilbert and Sullivan. Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner co-star. (Expanded release)