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by Kevin Brent

Almost Famous: Release Date—Sept. 15 We like it if Cameron Crowe is involved and he is so we’re lining up. One of the best screenwriters alive today and with a knack for working with a collection of large ensembles, Crowe has been silent since his mission statement known as Jerry Maguire hit theaters and the Oscar stage (Cuba Gooding being the lone victor). This script, for those claiming to be in the know, are already praising it as one of the best to hit the market in recent years. With titles still fluctuating, Stillwater will depict 70’s rock culture, as we track a high school kid aspiring to be a rock journalist. His shot at the big time arrives when he secures a gig following the hot new rock group Stillwater.

Starring Patrick Fugit, Fairuza Balk (the Craft, American History X), Billy Crudup and Zooey Deschanel. Written and Directed by Cameron Crowe.

CHAIN OF FOOLS: Release Date—September 22 Those Swedish commercials you may have seen on those “best of” specials were most likely done by the Traktor team, 1/3 of which consist of Pontus Lowenhielm and Patrick Von Krusenstjerna. With Chain of Fools, these two make their feature debut and are already getting positive industry buzz.

The basic premise behind what is being described as a comedy of the absurd, involves a barber (Happy Texas’ Steve Zahn) implicating himself in a series of strange events (including a rare coin heist) and burgeoning a relationship - and who wouldn’t? - with the investigating detective, Selma Hayek.

Starring the aforementioned Zahn and Hayek. Also with Lara Flynn Boyle, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Rappaport, Claudia Schiffer, Elijah Wood. Screenplay by Bix Skahill (Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie). A Warner Bros. release.

THE WATCHER: Release Date—September 8 Even though he shouldn’t be, Keanu Reeves is a box office draw, despite his blatant inability to play anyone other than Ted, and only when he is opposite Bill. It can’t be his transcending charisma or his seasoned Shakespearean repertoire that is carrying him from project to project.

All that can be reasonably deduced is that he comes across as a goofily unthreatening entity, so flawed in his characterizations that he makes us feel comfortable and confident in our own deficiencies. Heck, he is even capable of bringing out the goofiness in all of us when he adopts his dramatic, well-schooled persona (see The Devil’s Advocate). Maybe multi-faceted is a feasible label for him to bear after all.

In Watcher, Reeves attempts to turn the tables and adopt the role of the antagonist, portraying a serial killer toying with an FBI detective (the usually reliable James Spader), who has spent 8 failed years on his trail. Reeves entices him to come out of retirement to play yet another, sure to be diabolical, final hunt. Bad catch phrases also guaranteed to transpire include a twisted winner-take-all game of cat and mouse, and a height wire, no holds barred fight to the death. Then again, what else do we want and expect? Only a battle of the bands at San Dimas High could properly suffice.

Starring Keanu Reeves, James Spader, and Marisa Tomei. Directed by Joe Charbanic and written by Clay Ayers, Joe Charbanic, David Elliot, and Darcy Meyers. A Universal Pictures release.

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