December Movies: To See, Or Not To See?

November 28th, 2010 by Barak

Due to the insane inflation of high profile releases coming out this December (probably in order to make it in time for the Oscar run), and the inability to see them all, we volunteered to help you make the really important decisions. Which movies are worth a trip to the local cinema and which aren’t? With whom should you go to each movie? Which movies are going to appear in the Oscar nominations lists and which just wished they were? Which movies are going to make a hell of a lot of money and which are just weird? You can find the answers below:

Blockbusters for grown ups:

The people who made The Tourist are on to a great formula: You take a very good foreign movie which most of the American public haven’t seen (Anthony Zimmer), and you remake it with two American actors that attract viewers (and money) as much as their outward appearance is attractive: Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.

How do I know that How Do You Know is going to be good? Because it has a love triangle between three great actors: Reese Whiterspoon, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd and because it also co stars Jack Nicholson. For director James L. Brooks, this will be his fourth collaboration with Nicholson (so far with 100% success: Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News and As Good as It Gets).

Little Fockers won’t be so different than its two predecessors: yet again a comedy of errors about an eccentric family starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. The two main additions to the already crowded all star cast: Jessica Alba and Harvey Keitel.

Blockbusters for the entire family:

Gulliver’s Travel’s showcases Jack Black goofing around in Lilliput, in what seems to be the lightest adaption yet of this classic. It’s not necessarily a bad thing since, besides Black, it also stars the hilarious Billy Connolly and Jason Segal.
The Trailer for the movie Yogi Bear looks very silly, and with Anna Faris and Dan Aykroyd, it probably will be.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – is, as you probably guessed, yet another movie in the Narnia franchise. Simon Pegg is contributing his voice to a mouse called Reepicheep, so there’s at least one good thing in this movie.

Tron Legacy is Disney’s visually striking, super stylized remake of the 1982 movie Tron. It stars Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde and is definitely not recommended for people who believe in the sentence: “don’t judge a book by its cover”.

Offbeat releases:

The Tempest is based on a Shakespeare’s play, and some of its thematic elements include alchemy, magic and a mother that becomes a father. If that’s not weird enough, what about the movie’s odd-couple casting: Helen Mirren and Russell Brand!

The Warrior’s Way is a western with samurais, ninjas, and generally people who can jump insanely high. The stars are Kate Bosworth (previously on Win a Date with Ted Hamilton, and now on win a date with a super deadly samurai warrior), Geoffrey Rush (quite a different role than the one he had in Elizabeth: The Golden Age), and Dong-gun Jang (the movie’s main protagonist).

I Love You Phillip Morris was scheduled to come out in every month since Columbus discovered America, but for some reason it’s actually being released this December, almost 2 years after its Sundance premiere! It stars Jim Carry and Ewan McGregor as two gay lovers/criminals. The movie took a very long time to come out, but Jim Carry’s gay character doesn’t take as long.

Wannabe Oscar runners:

Death in the family, Life is a bitch, Emotional tearjerkers, Unemployment, Country singers – all very popular at the academy award. Unfortunately, Nicole Kidman won’t get a nomination for her numerous crying scenes in Rabbit Hole.

Halle Berry won’t get another Oscar for her portrayal of a woman with a split personality in Frankie and Alice (Although a movie that dealt with a split personality already won an Oscar. It was The Nutty Professor with Eddie Murphy. It won for best makeup).

A blonde actress in a movie about a country singer = Oscar? That equation worked for Reese Whiterspoon in Walk the Line, it won’t go as well for Gwyneth Paltrow in Country Strong.

The Company Men is as topical as last year’s Oscar winner – The Hurt Locker dealt with the war in Iraq, while The Company Men deals with unemployment, and as workplace related as Up in the Air. But John Wells is no Kathryn Bigelow, and Ben Affleck is no George Clooney, so this movie will make as much money as The Hurt Locker (not a lot), and will get as many Oscars as Up In the Air (none).

Oscar runners:

Many tried to imitate Rocky’s success and failed, but The Fighter with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale just might succeed in doing so. It’s about a working class boxer’s rise to the top, and if it also has the right soundtrack, it just might be this year’s heavyweight Oscar winner of the world.

When the Coen brothers make a movie, it’s always a cinematic event and True Grit just might be the year’s most intriguing movie. It is a remake of a 1969 western with John Wayne and stars Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin. Will this be the first western to win an Oscar since Unforgiven in 1992? My guess: maybe.

Black Swan deals with a talented ballerina in the New York City Ballet. I would have never dreamt of seeing a ballet movie, but when its director is Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler) and the actors are Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder and Vincent Cassel, it changes everything.

Somewhere is Sofia Coppola’s new movie that won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. It revolves around a playboy Hollywood actor (Stephen Dorf) who re-examines his life after his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning) surprises him with a visit. Will “Somewhere” win more major awards? Will Elle Fanning be the new Dakota Fanning? It remains to be seen.

In Biutiful, two masters of award winning dramas collaborate: Javier Bardem (The Sea Inside, No Country For Old Men) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, 21 Grams, Amores Perros). Will this movie be bleak? 99% it will be. Will it get an Oscar nomination? Probably.

Another Year is a movie by acclaimed director Mike Leigh and surprisingly, it deals with midlife crisis, unhappiness, death and desperation…. With such themes it’s only natural that 96% of the critics like it (Tomatometer).

If I had to chose just 5 (why? the editor asked me to), then I’m going to the cinema for: How do you Know, The Warrior’s Way, The Fighter, True Grit, Biutiful

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