Holiday movie preview: New releases offer prestige films, family-friendly flicks
BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer
Thursday, November 15, 2012
11/15/12 at 10:58 AM
Related story: Tim Blake Nelson joins a Spielberg cast for a second time in "Lincoln"
There are people who still wonder who on Earth goes to the movies on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Then those folks do so themselves for the first time and arrive to find a theater full of sold-out showtimes on the holidays. Then they never forget.
The holiday season begins in earnest this weekend, and that means movies for the whole family to enjoy, as well as prestige pictures for the discriminating viewer.
The former would feature movies such as the “Twilight” finale, “Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” and “The Hobbit” for “Lord of the Rings” fans. The latter would have to include “Lincoln,” the historical drama about our 16th president, and “The
Silver Linings Playbook,” a comedic family drama that’s been buzzed about for months.
This is just the beginning. The stocking is full of intriguing motion pictures through the start of the new year.
These titles — and their dates, which are listed with expected Tulsa release dates — are subject to change.
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2"
The last of five "Twilight" films finds Bella now a vampire, living with her husband, Edward, and their half-vampire daughter. But here comes the Volturi clan of vamps to shake up their happy family.
Daniel Day-Lewis stars as our 16th president in Steven Spielberg's historical epic, based on the final months of Lincoln's life and his effort to pass the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery. An enormous cast includes Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field and Tulsa native Tim Blake Nelson.
A man is determined to lose his virginity. The complication? He's in an iron lung. This award-winner at the Sundance Film Festival features two of the year's most talked-about performances from John Hawkes ("Winter's Bone") and Oscar-winner Helen Hunt as a sex surrogate.
"Beauty is Embarrassing"
This documentary on artist Wayne White shows him to be a cartoonist, a designer and a darling of the art world who has achieved fame and success - two of the subjects that he most often mocks.
"The Silver Linings Playbook"
Based on Matthew Quick's comedic novel about a mentally ill man (Bradley Cooper) moving back in with parents (Robert De Niro plays his father) and trying to find a balance in his life. This effort may or may not be helped along by his meeting a young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) dealing with her own issues.
"Rise of the Guardians"
Think of an animated "Avengers" when an evil force can be defeated only by the united efforts of a battle-tested Kris Kringle (voiced by Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), among others.
"Life of Pi"
An accident at sea leaves a young Indian man stranded on a small boat with a tiger as company. Ang Lee, known for his artistry in pictures including "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," has created a film that some compare to "Avatar" for its visual effects.
In 1984, it was Russians that young men (including Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell) fought to stop from invading their small town. In this remake it's North Koreans, and Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") and Josh Hutcherson ("The Hunger Games") are on the city's front lines.
"A Late Quartet"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener are among the members of a world-renowned string quartet that makes beautiful music together in public. In private, they battle over everything.
Joe Wright teams up for a third time with leading lady Keira Knightley ("Atonement," "Pride and Prejudice") for this period drama based on Leo Tolstoy's novel about late-1800s Russian high society, where the aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a torrid affair with the wealthy Count Vronsky.
"Killing Them Softly"
In a gangland thriller that looks gritty and comedic, Brad Pitt plays an enforcer charged with setting things right after someone has the nerve to rob a mob poker game. Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini are along for the drama.
"Playing for Keeps"
A Gerard Butler-starring romantic comedy finds him playing a former sports star whose life is a mess until he begins coaching his son's soccer team. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jessica Biel and Uma Thurman figure into his life, too.
"Big Easy Express"
Folk musicians Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros travel by train from San Francisco to New Orleans in this musical documentary.
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
Nine years after the final "Lord of the Rings" film carried off 11 Academy Awards and $1 billion worldwide at the box office, director Peter Jackson returns to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien to tell the adventure of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman).
Anthony Hopkins has delicious fun portraying Alfred Hitchcock in this period piece/love story (with his co-creator wife, Alma, played by Helen Mirren). Set in 1959, Hitchcock gambles his financial success to make a horror film - "Psycho" - that critics say will ruin him.
"The Guilt Trip"
Expect comedy and kvetching as an inventor (Seth Rogen) traveling cross-country to show off his latest project is joined by his mother (Barbra Streisand). From the director of "The Proposal" and the writer of "Crazy, Stupid, Love."
"Monsters, Inc." in 3-D
Big, blue, furry Sulley, one-eyed Mike and little Boo return to the big-screen - but in 3-D this time - in one of Pixar's most beloved animated comedies.
Fans of Lee Child's crime dramas (this one is based on his novel "One Shot") seem obsessed with Tom Cruise not being 6 feet, 5 inches tall like the book's protagonist. The real question is whether he can pull off the presence of the no-nonsense homicide investigator trying to determine why a sniper shot five random people.
"This is 40"
Do you remember "Knocked Up," the Seth Rogen-Katherine Heigl comedy by director Judd Apatow? That might be helpful as Apatow revisits the supporting characters - a couple played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (Apatow's wife in real life) - to see how life is treating them.
"Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away"
Can a 3-D original tale featuring the Cirque du Soleil troupe match up to an in-person experience? Intriguingly, this is produced by James Cameron ("Avatar") and directed by Andrew Adamson ("Shrek").
The Broadway musical based on Victor Hugo's novel comes to the big-screen starring Hugh Jackman as former prisoner Jean Valjean, Anne Hathaway as Fantine and Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert, who will not let Valjean rest. From the director of "The King's Speech."
Quentin Tarantino makes what he calls a "Southern," as opposed to a "Western," telling of a slave-turned-bounty hunter (Jamie Foxx) and his ambition to take revenge against his former owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). It's violence at Christmas like only Tarantino can deliver.
Leave the kids with the grandparents, and who knows what could happen? That seems to be the premise of this comedic comeback for Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, whose old-school methods smack head-on into their grandkids' expectations. Spankings? Maybe.
In this documentary, a shocking discovery comes to light when a filmmaker clears out a flat that was lived in during World War II by his grandparents, who were immigrants from Nazi Germany.
Matt Damon stars as a representative for a natural gas company whose thinking changes after he becomes part of a community that his corporation is seeking to enter. Damon wrote the politically minded picture with his co-star, John Krasinski.
"Hyde Park on Hudson"
Bill Murray plays Franklin Delano Roosevelt in this depiction of the president's relationship with his cousin (Laura Linney plays her), set during the period when British royals visited him in upstate New York in 1939.
"Zero Dark Thirty"
Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow and her writer on "The Hurt Locker" team up again for this movie depicting the squad that hunted down Osama bin Laden and killed him at his compound. Joel Edgerton ("Warrior") and Jessica Chastain ("The Help") star.
To be announced
Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor star in this acclaimed story of survival about the tsunami that changed the lives of thousands of people in southeast Asia, including a visiting family caught in the storm.
If you can imagine a retirement home for opera singers, and if you can see Maggie Smith ("Downton Abbey") playing a diva, then you might want to see this comedy that also stars Michael Gambon and Billy Connolly. Dustin Hoffman makes his feature directing debut.
"West of Memphis"
It's been said that justice delayed is justice denied, and documentarian Amy Berg ("Deliver Us from Evil") examines such an example with this look at the case of the West Memphis Three in Arkansas.
"Not Fade Away"
"Sopranos" creator David Chase makes his feature-film directing debut with this story he wrote about a group of guys trying to form a rock band and gain fame in 1960s New Jersey.
Love and the harsh realities of aging combine for this tale of a tested relationship between a husband and wife, two former music teachers now in their 80s. The new picture from foreign filmmaker Michael Haneke ("Cache," "The White Ribbon").
"Rust and Bone"
Marion Cotillard stars in an unusual French love story about a man who moves with his son to Antibes, where he begins a relationship with Stephanie (Cotillard), a killer whale trainer.
"On the Road"
Jack Kerouac's generation-defining novel comes to theaters from the director of "The Motorcycle Diaries" with a cast headlined by Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley, but also featuring Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams and Kirsten Dunst.
Original Print Headline: Holiday movie preview
Michael Smith 918-581-8479
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"