SEPTEMBER

17--"For Love of the Game" puts the baseball back in Kevin Costner's right paw, just where it belongs. No more of this wussy golf crap, no sir! He plays an aging Major League hurler caught in the drama of pitching a perfect game while remembering his life. Kelly Preston is wifey, but the good news is that the now mature Sam Raimi (of last year's fabulous "A Simple Plan") directs--simply, we hope.

17--"Blue Streak" features Washington's own Martin Lawrence as a jewel thief much put out to discover that the building in which he hid $17 million worth of stones has now been remodeled. The two words above the door read: Police Station. To complete the caper, he's got to join the force.

24--"American Beauty" might win Annette Bening the Oscar she so richly deserves. It's a fiery, funny domestic drama, about a somewhat dipsy husband (Kevin Spacey), his furious wife (Bening), their daughter (Thora Birch) and a young neighbor who photographs everybody. It's directed by stage wonderboy Sam ("The Blue Room" of naked Nicole fame) Mendes, who also directed the "Cabaret" currently in town.

24--"Mumford" brings writer-director Lawrence Kasdan back to the screen after a long absence, though in a much less showy mode than some of his films, like "Silverado" or "The Big Chill." It stars the little-noticed Loren Dean as a psychiatrist who arrives mysteriously in a small town and immediately cures all the folks.

24--"Double Jeopardy" is the thriller of the week, with Ashley Judd as a woman framed for the murder of her husband--by her husband. Years later and big-house toughened up, she gets out, locates guy, who is living under another name on the insurance money, and kicks some booty. Tommy Lee Jones co-stars and the director is the great Aussie Bruce Beresford, who's turned into a routine Yank hack.

24--"One Man's Hero" gives Tom Berenger--remember him as the psycho Sarge in "Platoon"?--another crack. He's an Irish renegade, who flees the States to fight with the Mexicans against the U.S. Army in the Mexican War of 1846.

24--"Dog Park": A serial monogamist (Luke Wilson) is forced to share custody of his dog, Mogley, with his former girlfriend. Janeane Garofalo, Natasha Henstridge and Mark McKinney join the cast of this romantic comedy by Bruce McCulloch ("Kids in the Hall").

24--"Simon Sez": Dennis Rodman, as an ultra-cool Interpol agent, enlists the aid of two computer expert monks in this action-comedy.

24--"The Minus Man": Hampton Fancher, a co-writer of the sci-fi classic "Blade Runner," makes his directorial debut in this eerie thriller about a quiet drifter (Owen Wilson) with a rather nasty habit of murdering people.

24--"Best Laid Plans": A student (Reese Witherspoon) accuses her teacher (Josh Brolin) of statutory rape in this mystery complicated by a botched burglary.

24--"The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human": This mockumentary explores the sex life of Homo sapiens.

OCTOBER

1--"Sugar Town" lit 'em up at Sundance, 'em being the younger set. It's a fictional look at today's music scene, from the Allison Anders who worked a similar take on the '50s musical scene in "Grace of My Heart," and Kurt Voss. With Ally Sheedy, Rosanna Arquette and Duran Duran stud muff John Taylor.

1--"Three Kings" has got the Big Buzz going for it. For one thing, critics love the director, David O. Russell, for his offbeat but smart comedies, like "Spanking the Monkey" and "Flirting With Disaster." For another, it may be that George Clooney has finally found the role that makes him a big-screen star. Clooney plays an Army officer who, in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, sponsors a heist for some Iraqi gold. But along the way, he and his team meet some villagers at risk. Other stars are Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze, all said to be good.

1--"Drive Me Crazy" watches as television's "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" Melissa Joan Hart tries to turn her grungy neighbor into a prom date.

1--"Mystery, Alaska" finally reaches the public; it's a blend of genres, half weird small-town flick, half hockey movie. The writer is David E. Kelley and you always wonder: Where does he find the time? Stars include Russell Crowe, Hank Azaria and Burt Reynolds as in Burt Reynolds!

1--"The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland": Elmo tours Oscar the Grouch's trash can in search of his blanky.

1--"Guinevere": In her directorial debut, Audrey Wells (writer of "The Truth About Cats and Dogs") explores the dynamics of a May-December romance between Sarah Polley ("Go") and Stephen Rea ("The Crying Game").

1--"Plunkett & Macleane": Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller of "Trainspotting" are reunited in this period tale of 18th-century highwaymen.

8--"The Limey" seems to suggest the Steven Soderbergh of "sex, lies, and videotape" fame is going to become a crime specialist. He follows up the excellent "Out of Sight" with this film about a tough Cockney hood (played by Terence Stamp) who goes to Hollywood to find out who killed his daughter. The film is built around snippets from "Poor Cow," a 1967 movie starring Stamp, which are used as flashbacks as the hood rethinks his life.

8--"Superstar" gives yet another "Saturday Night Live" performer-character a shot at stardom. This is news? Perhaps not, but it's Molly Shannon, who brings Mary Katherine Gallagher, the splay-legged klutz of a Catholic schoolgirl, to the big screen. Will Ferrell also stars.

8--"Random Hearts" wants to be so big! It stars big people--Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas. It was directed by a big director, Sydney Pollack. It has big effects, a plane crash. It has a big sex scene, in a car. It is certainly big. But will it be good?

8--"Lost Souls" moves Winona Ryder into horror-film territory as she believes that the Devil himself has come to roost in the unsuspecting mind of Ben Chaplin. Spielberg cinematographer Janusz Kaminski is the first-time director.

8--"Whiteboys" is the next film from the talented Marc Levin, who made "Slam," that street-tough ode to poets right here in Washington. This one features a creature of the title (Danny Hoch) who decides to go the "gangsta" rap route. Good luck, kid.

8--"Happy, Texas": Steve Zahn and Jeremy Northam play partners in crime who travel to the Lone Star State and are mistaken for a gay couple who organize peewee beauty pageants. A comic favorite at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

8--"Knockout": This boxing drama features a positive Latina heroine (Sophia Adella Hernandez) who takes charge of her life in the mean streets of East Los Angeles.

8--"Oxygen": A determined cop trails a psycho who buried a woman alive.

15--"Fight Club" is another big title for the fall, teaming Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, two next-generation stars, and reteaming Pitt and director David Fincher, of "Seven." Pitt and Norton play blue-collar men who drift into the secret world of fight clubs, where the opponents go at it flat-out. Pitt, very pretty, doesn't look pretty at all in the prerelease stills.

15--"The Story of Us" teams those fun kids Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer in a romantic comedy by Rob Reiner (who also co-stars). And look for Rita Wilson and Paul Reiser also. It's about the blues that arrive when the Willis and Pfeiffer characters, married for 15 years, decide on a trial separation.

15--"The Grandfather": A patriarch returns to his hometown in 1900s Spain in this nominee for last year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

22--"Body Shots" watches as attractive but groggy young people--Tara Reid, Jerry O'Connell--try to figure out who did what to whom and why during the previous night's partying.

22--"Boys Don't Cry": A Nebraska woman pretending to be a man is found out by friends who rape and murder her in this true story.

22--"Anywhere But Here" is this year's dysfunctional-family movie, which is to say it's this year's Susan Sarandon movie. ("Stepmom" was last year's.) According to published reports, the script was rewritten when co-star Natalie Portman refused to do a nude scene and Sarandon refused to do the film without her. You go, girlfriends! Wayne Wang directs.

22--"Bringing Out the Dead" possibly marks Martin Scorsese's return to the nitty-gritty after the madness of "Kundun." It stars Nicolas Cage (after the madness of "8MM") and his wife, Patricia Arquette, in a story of New York paramedics who do the down-and-dirty work. Others in the cast are John Goodman, Ving Rhames and Tom Sizemore.

22--"The Straight Story": Richard Farnsworth stars in David Lynch's surprisingly sweet film about a seventy-something who rode across Iowa on a lawn mower to visit his estranged and ailing brother (Harry Dean Stanton).

22--"The Best Man" has been called a black "Big Chill"; it follows a group of college friends who reunite after graduation and work things out. Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut and Nia Long star.

22--"Crazy in Alabama": Antonio Banderas makes his directorial bow in this civil rights-era drama about an eccentric Southern housewife (Melanie Griffith).

29--"Being John Malkovich," as well you might expect of a movie with that title, is almost impossible to describe. Somehow John Cusack ends up inside John Malkovich's brain. Cusack is playing a character, and Malkovich is playing Malkovich. I don't get it either, but it's also got Cameron Diaz.

29--"Holy Smoke" is the new Jane Campion pic and the new Harvey Keitel one (remember them from "The Piano," which she directed and he starred in?). Kate Winslet is in it, too--Keitel's a deprogrammer trying to rescue her from some kind of cult in modern-day Australia.

29--"Music of the Heart" is another odd pairing. It's directed by horrormeister Wes Craven, who was scared by his star--Meryl Streep--who was in turn scared by the role, which required her to learn how to play the violin. She actually did. That's not method acting, that's method being. Anyhow, it's based on an Oscar-winning documentary about East Harlem violin teacher Roberta Guaspari, who brooks no nonsense from her students. Looks like Streep brooked no nonsense from either director or self.

29--"The House on Haunted Hill" has one thing going for it. It's not "The Haunting." And one thing against it: It's not "The Blair Witch Project." It's a remake not of "The Haunting of Hill House" but--oh my, this is so confusin'!--"The House on Haunted Hill." Geoffrey Rush, always good, is in it.

29--"Princess Mononoke": Based on ancient Japanese legend, this animated eco-epic pitting the people of a rural village against hordes of forest demons is definitely not for the kiddies. There are simply too many decapitations.

NOVEMBER

5--"The Bone Collector" is the first of Virginia thriller writer Jeff Deaver's books to hit the big screen, although one of his previous books made it to HBO under a different title. This one stars Denzel Washington as paraplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme, on the case of a serial killer. His assistant is played by Angelina Jolie in her first non-hot-chick role; Aussie Phillip Noyce directed.

5--"The Insider": Christopher Plummer portrays correspondent Mike Wallace and Al Pacino his longtime producer in this account of the "60 Minutes" high-profile wrestling match with Big Tobacco. Fearing a zillion-dollar lawsuit, CBS brass forced the show to drop a story about a tobacco-industry whistle-blower (Russell Crowe).

5--"The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc": Milla Jovovich ("The Fifth Element") plays the Maid of Orleans.

5--"Man of the Century" follows the screwball adventures of an old-fashioned newshound in modern-day Manhattan.

5--"The Bachelor": Chris O'Donnell plays the title character in this remake of Buster Keaton's 1925 silent classic "Seven Chances." If he wants to inherit a fortune, he must find a bride (Renee Zellweger, maybe) in 24 hours.

12--"Mansfield Park": Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema, best known for lesbian romances like "When Night Is Falling," tackles an adaptation of Jane Austen's third novel.

12--"Felicia's Journey": Atom Egoyan's followup to "The Sweet Hereafter" focuses on a pregnant Irish girl (Elaine Cassidy), who heads for England in search of her lover. Alas, she ends up in the arms of a sociopath (Bob Hoskins).

12--"Play It to the Bone": Antonio Banderas and Woody Harrelson are ex-boxers trying to make a comeback in this sports flick written and directed by Ron Shelton ("Tin Cup," "Bull Durham").

12--"Pokemon: The First Movie": Based on the Japanese cartoon, pocket monsters and their young trainers battle bio-engineered Super-Pokemon on the big screen.

12--"Three to Tango": Dylan McDermott ("The Practice") plays a controlling magnate, Matthew Perry ("Friends") his gay buddy and Neve Campbell ("Party of Five") his straying mistress in this romantic triangle.

12--"Dreaming of Joseph Lees": Rising star Samantha Morton lusts after the mysterious title character (Rupert Graves), who is subsequently wounded on an excursion in Italy.

19--"Sleepy Hollow": Tim Burton turns Washington Irving's classic 18th-century tale into a romantic detective thriller. Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp), here a practical Gotham-based constable, travels upstate to a superstitious hamlet to investigate a series of grisly murders. The spooked locals blame the Headless Horseman. Cristina Ricci, Miranda Richardson and Christopher Walken co-star.

19--"The World Is Not Enough": Pierce Brosnan's 007 saves the world from a bad Bosnian in the Bond franchise's 19th outing. Yeah, ba-a-by.

19--"Rosetta": Emilie Dequenne plays an impoverished teen who puts her all into finding and keeping a job in this film by Belgian brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. Winner of the top prize at this year's Cannes Film Fetival.

19--"The Legend of 1900": Giuseppe Tornatore, director of "Cinema Paradiso," tells the extraordinary story of a piano prodigy (Tim Roth) who is born at sea, grows up within the confines of an ocean liner and is content to remain there despite the demand for his debut on dry land.

24--"Ride With the Devil": Ang Lee directs Tobey Maguire and Skeet Ulrich in this Civil War drama about childhood friends fighting on opposite sides of the Kansas-Missouri border.

24--"Anna and the King": New mother Jodie Foster teams up with Asian action star Chow Yun-Fat in this 19th-century tale of King Mongkut of Siam and the British teacher who tutored his children. Andy Tennant directs the epic sans song and dance.

24--"Toy Story 2": When a vintage toy dealer steals Woody (voice by Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (voice by Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang come to the rescue.

24--"End of Days": Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former cop now working as a security guard, must stop Lucifer (Gabriel Byrne) from taking a mortal wife (Robin Tunney) or it's curtains for humankind. Peter Hyams directs this millennial thriller.

24--"Flawless": After suffering a stroke, Robert De Niro's tough former cop turns to the drag queen next door for speech therapy. Philip Seymour Hoffman, the breather in "Happiness," plays the drag role in writer-director Joel Schumacher's departure from the excesses of Batmania.

26--"Liberty Heights": Barry Levinson goes back to Baltimore in the fourth of his semi-autobiographical tales. This one takes place in 1954 and stars Joe Mantegna, Bebe Neuwirth, Adrien Brody and Justin Chambers.

26--"Train of Life": A group of villagers attempts to flee the Nazis in this dramatic comedy written and directed by French-Romanian Radu Mihaileanu.

DECEMBER

3--"Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo": Rob Schneider, last seen in "Big Daddy," fills in for a professional hustler in this comedy produced by Adam Sandler.

*3--"Agnes Browne": Anjelica Huston directs and stars in this episodic tale of an Irish widow and seven kids.

*3--"Sweet and Lowdown": Sean Penn plays a jazz guitarist in Woody Allen's annual movie. Set in New York in the '30s, it also stars Uma Thurman and features a cameo by John Waters.

*3--"Topsy-Turvy": Director Mike Leigh looks into the relationship between Gilbert and Sullivan.

10--"Tumbleweeds": A single mother (Tony winner Janet McTeer) and her precocious 12-year-old daughter (Kimberly Brown) hit the road when another of the woman's relationships goes sour. This low-budget independent was another Sundance favorite.

10--"Galaxy Quest": A group of aliens mistakes the crew of a classic TV series for the real thing and recruits it to join in a real war against a deadly adversary. Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman and Tony Shalhoub star in this sci-fi comedy adventure.

10--"Stuart Little": E.B. White's mouse comes to life via cutting-edge animatronic technology.

10--"Scream 3": Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette scream for Wes Craven.

17--"The Green Mile": Frank Darabont, who directed the now-popular adaptation of Stephen King's short story "The Shawshank Redemption," brings all the right stuff to the screen version of King's six-part bestseller. Set in the '30s, the dialogue-rich drama stars Tom Hanks as a death row prison guard and Michael Clarke Duncan as a black inmate condemned for murdering two white girls.

17--"The Cider House Rules": Lasse Hallstrom directs John Irving's screen adaptation of his historical novel about an orphan (Tobey Maguire) who is mentored by his orphanage's doctor (Michael Caine). Kathy Baker, Kate Nelligan and Jane Alexander co-star.

17--"Bicentennial Man": Robin Williams plays a domestic robot who gradually becomes human in this comic reunion with Chris Columbus, who directed him in 1993's "Mrs. Doubtfire."

*24--"The Talented Mr. Ripley": Anthony Minghella follows up "The English Patient" with an opulent adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's 1955 cult novel. Matt Damon plays the amoral Ripley, a young American who kills an old school chum and assumes his identity. Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett join the fun.

25--"Man on the Moon": Jim Carrey plays the late Andy Kaufman in the biography written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski ("The People vs. Larry Flynt") and directed by Academy Award winner Milos Forman. Danny DeVito plays Kaufman's manager and Courtney Love the comic's friend and lover.

25--"Hanging Up": Meg Ryan, Lisa Kudrow and Diane Keaton learn that their wild and wacky father (Walter Matthau) is finally threatening to die. Keaton also directs this dramedy written by Delia and Nora Ephron.

*25--"Angela's Ashes": Emily Watson ("Hilary and Jackie") and Robert Carlyle ("The Full Monty") play novelist Frank McCourt's parents in this adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir. Alan Parker directs this dramatic account of growing up poor in Ireland during the '30s and '40s.

25--"Any Given Sunday": Al Pacino, as an aging coach, faces up to the new demands of professional sports in Oliver Stone's Miami-set gridiron drama. Quarterback controversy pits injured veteran Dennis Quaid against sly young Jamie Foxx.

25--"Cradle Will Rock": Tim Robbins directs this elaborate period epic based on a 1937 musical by Orson Welles. Alleging the cast's left-wing politics, the government shut down the shoot, but the show went on, albeit on Broadway. The ensemble cast features Susan Sarandon, John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Bill Murray, Emily Watson and John Turturro.

25--"Next Friday": Ice Cube co-produced, co-wrote and stars in this comic sequel to the 1995 sleeper "Friday." Tom "Tiny" Lister Jr. returns as Deebo.

25--"Reindeer Games": Ben Affleck is an ex-con who wants to start a new life with his girlfriend (Charlize Theron), but a couple of real bad guys (Gary Sinise and Clarence Williams III) are standing in the way.

25--"Magnolia": Paul Thomas Anderson follows "Boogie Nights" with this cryptic tale about family relations. The ensemble cast includes William H. Macy, Julianne Moore, Jason Robards and Tom Cruise.

* movies have to-be-determined release dates