Wednesday, November 25, 2009

At the Movies – December

Must See in Theatres:

The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson) – Drama – Dec 25
Peter Jackson returns to cinemas with what would seem to be a more intimate project, after the epic The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and King Kong. Based on the novel by Alice Sebold, the story is about a young girl who is murdered and watches over her family, and killer, from the afterlife. Should she help them catch her killer or let them move on and heal? With the help of Andrew Lesnie, Jackson seems to have taken a both stark reality and fantasy approach to the material, which is evident in the wonderful trailer. While this film may not scream out as “must see” of the month based on the cast and premise, when other more high profile films are coming out like Avatar, one look at the trailer, and remember this is a Peter Jackson film after all, and there is no doubt that this will be the cinema experience of the month. Not to mention Brian Eno is scoring it. The film stars: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weiz, Susan Sarando, Stanley Tucci, and the up and coming great talent Saoirse Ronan. Check out the trailer.

Worth Checking Out (if not in theatres then at home):

Invictus (Clint Eastwood) – History/Sports – Dec 11
A likely Oscar contender, Clint Eastwood’s new film is an adaptation of John Carlin’s book about Nelson Mandela’s attempt to unite the citizens of South Africa following the fall of the apartheid by campaigning to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Eastwood has been on a role lately with late year’s Changeling and Grand Torino. Invictus should be another fine film, and look good too as Tom Stern returns behind the camera. The film stars: Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Check out the trailer.

Up in the Air (Jason Reitman) – Comedy/Drama – Dec 11
Hot off the success of Juno, director Jason Reitman returns with Up in the Air a story about a consultant who is constantly travelling, outwardly for work, but inwardly because he has no real human connections and thus is afraid to stop moving. So what happens, he is grounded. The film has received praise and is considered a strong Oscar contender for Best Picture, as well as lead actor for George Clooney. The film stars: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, and Danny McBride. Check out the trailer.

Good for Dates:

Everybody’s Fine (Kirk Jones) – Drama – Dec 4
Robert De Niro is back with what looks to be a potential hit and possibility an Oscar nod (though probably not). Everybody’s Fine is about a widower that wants to spend the holidays with his three kids, so he takes a trip to visit each of them. The film looks to be a good role for De Niro and a good family film for adults during the holidays. The film stars: Robert De Niro, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, and Drew Barrymore. Check out the trailer.

Nine (Rob Marshall) – Musical – Dec 18
Rob Marshall, made famous by Oscar-winner Chicago, returns to musicals with Nine about famous film director Guido Contini as he struggles to find balance between his professional and personal lives, as shown through his relationships with five different women. The film is an adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical based on 8 1/2. What else does this have going for it? Well, how about D.P. Dion Beebe (Oscar winner), music by Maury Yeston (Tony Award winner) and a fantastic cast (six Oscar winners!). Oscar voters and film fans watch out! The film stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren, and Kate Hudson (not an Oscar winner, but she was nominated for one). Check out the trailer.

Fun Movies:

Walt Disney Animation Studio’s second feature is The Princess and the Frog, the classic story, with a twist, set in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the Jazz Age. While the trailer really is not that great, there are two key things to remember: 1) this is a Disney film, and they seldom disappoint, and 2) director/writers Ron Clements and John Musker are responsible for The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules (not bad, right). And with that track record, the film will likely be good. The film has voice talent including: Keith David, Terrence Howard, John Goodman, and Oprah Winfrey. Check out the trailer.

Avatar (James Cameron) – Sci-Fi – Dec 18
James Cameron, you’ve just made the highest grossing motion picture (not adjusted for inflation) of all-time, what are you going to do now? To which Cameron has seemingly replied, not make a new film for twelve years other than a few nature/history documentaries that five people will see as I try to figure out how to eliminate actors from film. The result: Avatar. The film is about humans battling a distant planet’s indigenous peoples by way of inserting a mole. While to some the trailer may present what appears to be a lackluster film, Cameron did make T2 so that gives him some leeway. Though, do we actually really want to see films with no actors, aside for the annual Pixar film? And at an estimated $300MM budget before P&A, this better do Titanic business (actors are probably safe for now). The film stars/voice talent: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver. Check out the trailer.

Sherlock Holmes (Guy Ritchie) – Action – Dec 25
Do three terribles make a good? 1) Guy Ritchie, after making two good movies to start his career, has made three consecutive bad films. 2) Lead screenwriter Simon Kinberg is not a prudent decision, should you actually want the movie to be good (why not just hire David Koepp as co-writer and hope their combined terribleness will negate and prove to be positive outcome). And 3) the tagline is “Nothing Escapes Him” (wasn’t that the tagline to Jaws: The Revenge? I stand corrected, that tagline was “This time… It’s personal”). On the argument of good, 1) cool cast headlined by Robert Downey Jr. 2) Music by Hans Zimmer. And 3) it is a Sherlock Holmes movie! So does it all cancel out? And if so, what does that leave? Hopefully, a good time at the cinema, the trailer does show the film to be fun, and isn’t that the point of a film such as this. The film stars: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, and Mark Strong. Check out the trailer.

Art-House Watch:

Brothers (Jim Sheridan) – Drama – Dec 4
Brothers is a film about brothers (surprisingly so) who are both stationed in Iraq, one is missing presumed dead, and so the other returns stateside to reconcile with his brother’s wife and child, only he fall for the wife and child, and (again, surprise!) then his brother is found not to be dead and returns home. This film comes with a warning at this point: WARNING! HUGE AMOUNTS OF DRAMA TO ENSUE. But, usually, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ aside, Jim Sheridan makes pretty good films. Plus, this has a great cast and music by Thomas Newman. The film stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Clifton Collins Jr., and Sam Shepard. Check out the trailer.

The Young Victoria (Jean-Marc Vallee) – History/Romance – Dec 18
The plot of this film is self evident in the title. Plus, as we learn from the tagline, “Love rules all”, so we know all we need to know going into this. So why go see this particular film, another in a long overplayed genre? Well, it is director Jean-Marc Vallee’s second mainstream film, after the well received C.R.A.Z.Y. It stars the wonderful Emily Blunt, and has a strong supporting cast. It is written by Julian Fellows who wrote Gosford Park. And finally, it looks to be quite good based on the trailer. The film stars: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, and Mark Strong. Check out the trailer.

A Single Man (Tom Ford) – Drama – Dec 25
Another Oscar favorite, A Single Man is a film based on the book by Christopher Isherwood about an English professor who tries to go about his average day in LA amidst the sudden death of his partner. The film marks the feature directorial debut of fashion giant Tom Ford. The film has a great cast and likely will have a great look and style to it, with Ford running the show. The film stars: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Nicholas Hoult. Check out the trailer.

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