Movies to watch

Owen Wilson heads the voice cast as Lightning McQueen, along with Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Richard Petty and Larry the Cable Guy in the animated film "Cars,"

Published: Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 7, 2006 at 10:08 p.m.
As the new year sets in, what's in store for movie buffs? What are the must-sees in the coming year.
Well, the most anticipated and fretted about novel-to-screen adaptation since the first ''Harry Potter'' adventure in 2001 may be ''The Da Vinci Code,'' which will arrive in theaters in May.
Otherwise, Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, the new year's celebrity mystery couple (or not a couple), will share the screen. And we'll finally answer that gnawing question (or not a question): What would cars say if they could talk?
Mark these down on your shiny new calendars:
  • ''The Da Vinci Code'' - Ron Howard, the Oscar-winning director of ''A Beautiful Mind'' and ''Cinderella Man'' is charging full-steam ahead through post-production on the much-anticipated movie version of Dan Brown's religious-themed thriller, which has become a publishing phenomenon.
    Tom Hanks takes on the role of Robert Langdon, the Harvard scholar and expert on iconic symbols caught up in a bizarre murder investigation in Paris. French actress Audrey Tautou (''Amelie'') is Sophie Neveu, a cryptologist who helps Langdon unravel the mystery of a secret, powerful and dangerous religious society.
    Theologians, ''Da Vinci'' decoders and conspiracy theorists, get ready to rumble. (Opens May 19.)
  • ''The Break Up'' - Are Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn a couple or not? Do we really care?
    In this romantic comedy, a couple calls it quits but can't decide which one will vacate the condo the two share. Peyton Reed (''Bring It On'') directs.
    It might be a good idea to push what happened with ''Gigli,'' which teamed former hot celebrity couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, as far back in the memory bank as possible. (June 2)
  • ''Cars'' - Call this one John Lasseter's baby. The Pixar Animation Studio vice president and founding member has been guarding this animated family comedy in the Pixar garage for years.
    Owen Wilson heads the voice cast as Lightning McQueen, a cocky stock car taken down a notch or two when he breaks down. Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Richard Petty and Larry the Cable Guy rev up the impressive voice talent list. (June 9)
  • ''Mission: Impossible III'' - Star and driving force Tom Cruise got a rocky start on the third installment of the 10-year-old action-thriller franchise. Ving Rhames, ''Capote's'' Philip Seymour Hoffman and Michelle Monaghan hop on for the ride this time. J.J. Abrams (TV's ''Alias'' and ''Lost'') makes his feature directing debut. (May 5)
  • ''Lady in the Water'' - From writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, responsible for ''The Village'' and ''The Sixth Sense,'' comes a supernatural thriller about a lonely guy and a striking figure in the pool. Paul Giamatti (''Sideways,'' ''Cinderella Man'') plays a handyman at a Philadelphia apartment complex who discovers a very strange woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) - or is she something else? - lurking in the swimming pool. (July 21)
  • ''Casino Royale'' - Pass the tuxedo and the license to kill, please. British actor Daniel Craig (''Munich'') becomes the sixth James Bond, taking over from Pierce Brosnan, who suited up as Agent 007 four times. Shooting begins shortly with Judi Dench reportedly back in the cast. M. Martin Campbell, who helmed ''GoldenEye,'' returns to the director's chair.
    This one looks to be a little more serious than the 1967 Bond spoof of the same title starring Peter Sellers, David Niven, Orson Welles and Woody Allen. (Nov. 17)
  • ''Superman Returns'' - Like last year's ''Batman Begins,'' the franchise about the guy with the big red S on his chest reinvents itself. Relative newcomer Brandon Routh, who played Seth Anderson on the daytime soap ''One Life to Live,'' takes over as the Man of Steel.
    Kevin Spacey morphs into Lex Luthor. Kate Bosworth is quick-witted damsel-in-distress Lois Lane, and Frank Langella takes on Perry White.
    Director Bryan Singer tries to revive the franchise built by the late Christopher Reeve. His superhero resume includes calling the shots on the first two ''X-Men'' adventures. (Not No. 3 debuting May 26, though. ''Rush Hour'' director Brett Ratner gives that one a go.) (June 30)
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