Sunday, November 09, 2008

Holiday Movie Preview (Part 2)

The movie release schedule looks to be packed as the year ends, with lots of options vying for your money. This following list doesn’t even cover it all, as there are that many movies set to unspool in theaters in December, particularly at Christmastime.

Starring Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones
Directed by Ron Howard

Based on the play by Peter Morgan, this film dramatizes the series of post-Watergate interviews conducted with Richard Nixon by TV talk show host David Frost. Langella and Sheen both reprise their roles from the stage production, with Oscar-winner Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) as director. This movie would seem custom made for awards, at least in the acting categories. (Dec. 5, limited)
Official Web site

Starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Viola Davis
Directed by John Patrick Shanley

Can I say ditto from the prior entry? “Doubt” is also based on a play (a Pulitzer Prize winner, no less) and looks to feature a lot of acting standouts. A priest (Hoffman) is accused of abusing a young boy and must defend himself against the suspicions of a Catholic school principal (Streep). Director Shanley was also the writer of the Broadway play, so he certainly knows the material. (Dec. 12, limited)
Official Web site

“The Day the Earth Stood Still”
Starring Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates
Directed by Scott Derrickson

Reeves is back in familiar sci-fi territory, starring as Klaatu, an alien messenger sent to warn Earth of its potentially eminent demise, much to the skepticism and chagrin of its citizens. Could do big box office, but seems to be a remake of the classic 1951 film that no one was seeking. (Dec. 12)
Official Web site

“Seven Pounds”
Starring Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, Michael Ealy
Directed by Gabriele Muccino

Reteaming with his “The Pursuit of Happyness” director, Smith stars as a suicidal man who finds himself involved in changing lives of several people he befriends. The story is largely being kept quiet, but Smith seems to be box office gold with pretty much anything. (Dec. 19)
Official Web site

“Yes Man”
Starring Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Sasha
Alexander, Danny Masterson, Terence Stamp
Directed by Peyton Reed

It seems like it’s been a long time since Carrey has starred in a big budget comedy (2003’s “Bruce Almighty” would have been the last), but the trailer would seem to indicate he’s in a comfort zone here. Carrying a movie on his shoulders is nothing new, and this is one of the few outright comedies coming out this month, which bodes well for the movie’s prospects. (Dec. 19)
Official Web site

“Marley and Me”
Starring Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Haley Bennett, Alan Arkin, Eric Dane
Directed by David Frankel

Aniston and Wilson were romantically linked (which has since ended, evidently) during the filming of this movie, based on the best-selling book about a family and their lovable, yet constantly misbehaving dog. Should be an ideal holiday draw for families. (Dec. 25)
Official Web site

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond
Directed by David Fincher

Adapted from the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, “Benjamin Button” is the remarkable tale of a man (Pitt) who is aging backwards and obviously has to deal with life in a different way. A unique movie such as this could be something magical or a disaster. The early word and trailer indicates the former. This marks the third (and most ambitious) collaboration for Pitt and Fincher (“Se7en,” “Fight Club”) (Dec. 25)
Official Web site

Starring Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson
Directed by Brian Singer

This project about the plan of a group of German colonels to assassinate Adolf Hitler during World War II is based on actual events and has had a troubled journey to the screen. Numerous changes to the release date have occured, but there is a curiosity factor here to see if Cruise and director Singer (“The Usual Suspects”) can pull this risky film off. (Dec. 26)
Official Web site

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