Movie Alert! December’s dozen doozies

Carly at the Movies column by Carl Larsen

As usual, it’s feast or famine time in Hollywood. The studios wait until the very end of the year to roll out their Academy Award-worthy films, figuring all the Oscar voters suffer from A.D.D.

It’s been a long, dry year for us film fans, but during this holiday season we can be of good cheer – there are a dozen doozies coming our way. To be sure, some of them will not be seen in the local area for the time being, but fear not. They’ll be here shortly if not sooner.

Here are the 12 films on my list. Let’s hope they’re all as good as the studio poop-scoopers claim they are.

Already Opened But Not Wide Yet: “The Savages.” Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman are siblings who come together to take care of their dad, Philip Bosco. For sure, a Relationship Movie, and word has it that Linney’s strongly favored to pick up that Oscar, this time.

Dec. 7:

“The Golden Compass.” Ah, shades of Narnia! Here’s another big kid/adult fantasy adventure with big name cast (Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, et cetera) based on a “beloved children’s series.” Be there for the beginning of a franchise, kiddo.

“Atonement.” Directed by Joe Wright, who previously helmed co-star Keira Knightley in the lively “Pride and Prejudice.” This romantic drama’s going to surprise you with a bunch of Oscar noms. Also starring James McAvoy, Brenda Blyleth and striking 13-year-old Saoirse Ronan.

“Grace is Gone.” Buzz has it that this is John Cusack’s best role ever – a father/daughter story full of love and sadness and hope and all that stuff. Bring Kleenex. Cusack’s done some great work, so I’m expecting a knockout performance.

“Juno.” A black comedy about teen pregnancy. Ellen Page stars as the unlucky teenager, with Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman playing prospective adoptive parents. Supposed to be a star-making role for Ms. Page.

Dec. 14:

“I Am Legend.” Will Smith starring in Richard Matheson’s sci-fi masterpiece. Looks just great – I’m seeing it at an IMAX theater. Manhattan’s all weedy and overgrown and (nearly) deserted. A pedestrian’s dream as well as a cracking good story (if they stick to the book).

“The Kite Runner.” Everyone’s read the book; everyone’s salivating for the movie. It’s directed by Marc Forster (“Monster’s Ball,” “Stranger Than Fiction”), here’s a young kid’s memories of life in gay, romantic, downtown Afghanistan. Grim but uplifting, they say.

Dec. 21:

“Charlie Wilson’s War.” Big Tom Hanks. Big Julia Roberts. Directed by Big Ron Howard. With Big Philip Seymour Hoffman. And Big Budget. Based on a Big Political Story. Oscar nominations? You kiddin’ me? Tons of ’em.

“P.S. I love You.” Star-filled comedy drama that looks adorable in trailers. Hilary Swank, Gerald Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Harry Connick, Jr. and others show us how to keep a stiff upper lip while enduring personal tragedies.

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Here, at last, is Tim Burton’s take on the bloody Broadway hit about the bloody British barber as played by Johnny Depp. Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman join Johnny (who does his own singing, thank you) in this devilishly delightfully dark masterwork. If you like that kind of thing, I mean. I do.

“The Bucket List.” Cancer-ward escapees kick up heels. Bit of a downer, theme-wise, eh? Yeah, but it’s directed by jolly Rob Reiner, and wouldn’t you go to ANY movie co-starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman?

Dec. 28:

There Will Be Blood. Rarely-seen Daniel-Day Lewis makes a strong bid for an Oscar nom in this story of Texas oil, greed, religion, family, whatever. Co-written and directed by deep-thinking Paul Thomas Anderson. (Lord, I love hyphens.) Lewis plays a grungy old oilman. Haven’t seen him since 2002’s “Gangs of New York.” Critics will welcome him back.

Meanwhile, Back at the Dixie:

Spend each of the next three Saturdays, from 10 to noon, at the Dixie for free cartoons and a chat with that wheezy old geezer, Santa Claus himself. This week’s major films include “August Rush” for those who appreciate music, and “Lions for Lambs” for those who appreciate liars and lamb chops.

   

Carl Larsen is a regular contributor to The Augusta Free Press. Look for his At the Movies column on Mondays.


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