Hollywood does not fail to go the extra mile this Autumn

Ted Pigeon

“Red Dragon:” Anthony Hopkins returns once again to play Hannibal Lecter in this first chapter of the Hannibal Lecter trilogy. Anyone who has read Thomas Harris’ novel or has seen the 1985 Michael Mann film “Manhunter” knows that the story has great potential if executed properly. Since the ideal movie for this material has already been made by Mann, it will take more than just clever one-liners from Hopkins to keep this movie fresh. It is essentially both a prequel and a remake. A talented ensemble cast led by Edward Norton will hopefully give this film a life of its own, rather than just using the popularity of Hannibal as a crutch for its success. (Opens today)

“The Ring:” Based on the nature of the trailers, this remake of a recent Japanese film appears to have a bold visual style and overall brooding, yet highly provocative, atmosphere. The story is about a mysterious tape, and whoever watches this cassette will end up dying exactly seven days later. It is an intriguing idea for a plot, and combined with the striking visual style, it could make for a riveting film. (Oct. 18)

“8 Mile:” Eminem makes his acting debut in this semi-autobiographical story of a young rapper who grows up on the streets of Detroit and one day attains success. The film is directed by one of the most talented directors in the business, Curtis Hanson, who co-wrote and directed “L.A. Confidential” and “Wonder Boys.” Rising star Brittany Murphy costars. (Nov. 8)

“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:” Director Chris Columbus returns to helm this sequel to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” film adaptation, which is one of the most imaginative and wonderfully rendered films made in a long time. Based on the enormously popular book series by J.K. Rowling, this second installment of the saga takes us back to the Hogwarts School and re-unites all the members of the original cast and crew. If Columbus’ directorial effort for the first film is indicative of what lies ahead, there is much to anticipate in this movie. (Nov. 15)

“Die Another Day – 007:” Pierce Brosnan reprises his role as the infamous James Bond for yet another installment in the longest running series in the history of cinema. Not much is known about this latest Bond flick other than the obvious, such as plot elements involving a madman bent on world domination and a lot of explosions. Brosnan revived the series in the mid-’90s and has since kept the franchise afloat. Every installment in which he has played Bond has been brilliant and entertaining so far. Hopefully this film will keep up the streak. (Nov. 22)

“Solaris:” Directed by Steven Soderbergh, from an original concept by James Cameron, this secretive sci-fi flick stars George Clooney. Outside that, not much else is known about this film. But with a story by sci-fi visionary Cameron and direction from Soderbergh, the ingredients for greatness are apparently all there. From the looks of it, this film has a lot of potential. (Nov. 29)

“Analyze That:” This is the sequel to the extremely funny 1999 hit, “Analyze This.” This movie aims to have more laughs and once again centers on the on-screen chemistry between reunited actors Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal that worked so well the first time around. DeNiro returns as the mafia hitman with a heart while Crystal reprises his role as the psychiatrist who tries to help him. Comedy veteran Harold Ramis directs this film that will hopefully break the streak of bad sequels released this year. (Dec. 6)