Holiday Movie Preview

By Stephanie Holland, Editor In Chief

By Stephanie Holland, Editor In Chief

For movie buffs the holiday season usually offers a wide range of choices from family films to Oscar favorites. This year is no different with big movies opening in every genre. A look at winter’s movies includes the latest projects from several high profile directors and films for the family to enjoy while they celebrate together.

Dec. 18

“Avatar” is James Cameron’s long awaited “Titanic” follow up. In the future a team of scientists and soldiers are sent to a far off moon called Pandora to mine for minerals. They face opposition from the native people and use remote controlled avatars to learn about them. By all accounts this is a stunningly made film with Cameron using all the latest technology to great effect.

However, there have been some reviews that question the story and the length of the film. Cameron has never been able to keep a film under two hours, so it comes as no surprise that “Avatar” clocks in at 2 hours 30 minutes.

The movie does have the advantage of a star studded cast that includes Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez and newcomer Sam Worthington. There is also the studio’s highly aggressive marketing campaign that has made the movie a must see for all fans of the genre. While a movie of this magnitude is critic proof and it will make a lot of money, its bloated $300 million budget will make it extremely hard for it to turn a profit.

Dec. 25

Over the years there have been many versions of “Sherlock Holmes,” but, how many of those featured the one-two punch of Robert Downey Jr. and Guy Ritchie. In the newest incarnation of the classic detective’s story, Downey plays Holmes, Jude Law plays Watson and Ritchie directs.

This version of the story features more action and Downey’s trademark humor. It also is Ritchie’s most mainstream film to date. Rachel McAdams is the feisty female lead and Mark Strong portrays the villainous Lord Blackwood.

With a PG-13 rating, this is something that most of the family can enjoy after all the presents are opened. But, longtime traditional Holmes fans seem less enthusiastic, calling the film a much too modern take on a classic character.

This feels like a fun popcorn movie that is just looking to give audiences a solid two hours of entertainment.

Written and directed by Nancy Meyers whose credits include “The Holiday,” “Something’s Gotta Give” and the “Father of the Bride” films, “It’s Complicated” is a romantic comedy about two exes (Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep) who aren’t quite done with each other.
 

With a cast that includes Steve Martin, John Krasinski, Mary Kay Place and Rita Wilson, this is the film for parents to enjoy while their kids take in “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.”

The film is receiving some extra buzz with Golden Globe nominations for Streep and the movie itself, but it doesn’t seem like something a wide demographic will like. However, its cast and director offer a built in pedigree that will make moviegoers give it the benefit of the doubt.

With possibly the most decorated cast to ever be in one film, “Nine” is based on the Broadway musical about Italian film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) and the many women who inspire his work. These women are played by Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Fergie, Judi Dench and Sophia Loren.

Directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall, the movie is of course a musical that has already been nominated for several awards and appeared on many critics best of the year lists.

Though musicals have been making a comeback in recent years, this film may be a little harder for viewers to connect with because it doesn’t have the notoriety of “Chicago” or “Dreamgirls.”

However, since most of this cast are award winners and legends, it’s a safe bet that this film will give fans the entertainment that its stylized commercials and promotions promise.

The final big film opening on Christmas Day is “The Lovely Bones” directed by Peter Jackson. The film, which is based on the book by Alice Sebold, tells the story of a young girl who is brutally murdered and how her family deals with the tragedy while she watches over them in the afterlife.

Young actress Saiorse Ronan plays the lead character Susie, with Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz portraying her parents. Stanley Tucci plays the perpetrator of Susie’s murder, while Michael Imperioli and Susan Sarandon also have supporting roles.

“The Lovely Bones” is Jackson’s most emotional story and in a phone interview he spoke about the motivation for making the film.

“The emotion of “The Lovely Bones” is really the purpose of you know – of making the movie,” Jackson said.” Just reading the book, because it touches on all sorts of themes and things that you know we recognize in our own lives, and once you’re emotionally affected like that, you try to hang on to that feeling, or that emotion, and get that into the finished film.”

While the reviews for the film have been mixed, there is a consensus on the talent of Ronan. Many critics have praised her for a standout performance in a movie full of stars. Jackson also had nothing but high marks for his talented lead.

“She is incredibly gifted and natural… and she’s courageous, because she has to you know – she’s not acting, acting is never about pretending. It’s about making it real,” he said. “When she’s crying on screen, she’s really crying, because she’s thinking about things that are making her cry.”

“She reminds me of a young Cate Blanchett. I can just see Saoirse going on to make many, many films in the future and have a long, long, long illustrious career,” Jackson said.

From singing chipmunks to heart wrenching emotional tales to updates of old favorites, the holiday movie season offers plenty of choices for movie buffs of every age.