Though the New York Film Festival doesn't open until the very end of September, the opening film is already in line, and it's a doozy. First of all, its title -- The Queen -- is just vague enough to be intriguing: The movie could be about anyone from, like, Isabel of Spain to Liberace. So there's some built-in suspense there. Second, it's directed by Stephen Frears, who has spent the last two decades making small, damn good pictures (My Beautiful Laundrette, Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters, Dirty Pretty Things -- and yes, I'm pretending Mary Reilly never happened). Third, the film is set within England's royal family immediately after the death of Princess Diana, which could potentially be incredibly interesting. Finally and most importantly, it stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II. Actually, just that would sell me -- Mirren is a staggeringly talented actress who gets more interesting and more impressive as she gets older.

Anyway. The film will make its US debut at the festival on September 29, and will be released in the US by Miramax in October.