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The New York Guest List

Local stars (and would-be stars) to watch out for.

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Fans of the late Hal Hartley muse Adrienne Shelly will pack screenings of Waitress to see the directorial debut she wrapped shortly before her murder, a movie that will (sadly) get more attention now that she’s gone … Meryl Streep lends star power to Chen Shi-Zheng’s obscure indie Dark Matter, playing a university patron who falls for a brilliant young Chinese physicist … John Cusack plays a husband whose wife is killed in Iraq, in Grace Is Gone … Acting-awards alert: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney play a brother and sister who have to care for their mother in Tamara Jenkins’s The SavagesJake Paltrow attempts to give nepotism a good name in The Good Night, his romance starring Penélope Cruz, Martin Freeman, and, yes, his sis Gwyneth … Southern auteur David Gordon Green may be poised for a breakthrough with his first New York film, Snow Angels, a romance starring Sam Rockwell, Kate Beckinsale, Michael Angarano, and Olivia ThirlbyJustin Theroux, whose career hasn’t gone as far as some would have liked post–Six Feet Under, has his directorial debut with Dedication, a dark romance starring Billy Crudup as a neurotic children’s-book writer who falls for Mandy MooreVictor Rasuk and Heather Graham fall for one another in Adrift in Manhattan … Debut New York director Steven Berra scored a terrific cast for his film The Good Life: Harry Dean Stanton, Zooey Deschanel, Bill Paxton, and others … The controversial John Lennon assassination film Chapter 27 finally arrives, with Jared Leto playing Mark David Chapman and “Page Six” sharpening its knives … Perennial lift-ticket holder Lili Taylor is back at Sundance with Starting Out in the Evening, by sharp New Yorker Andrew Wagner (The Talent Given Us) … SNL vet Molly Shannon stars in Chuck & Buck scribe Mike White’s directorial debut, Year of the Dog (yep, it’s a dark comedy) … Acquisition alert: Jeffrey Blitz, director of the spelling-bee doc Spellbound, makes his fiction-feature debut with another geek—a stuttering debate-team champion from New Jersey—in Rocket Science … Fiction bleeds into real life in On the Road With Judas, the directorial debut of New Yorker JJ Lask … And finally, Binghamton’s supposed kid-prodigy painter (or hoax participant?) Marla Olmstead gets her own documentary, My Kid Could Paint That.


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