Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Festivus are right around the corner. That means lots of vacation time, plenty of visits to the mall and a timely opportunity to absorb some of 2010’s biggest films. What will we be watching this holiday season? Let’s count ’em down. Note: All opening dates are subject to change.
Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) just came off a film festival high with this true-life drama about hiker Aron Ralston (played on screen by James Franco). Ralston, you may recall, is the dude who spent the titular amount of time trapped under a large boulder in the Utah desert before cutting his own arm off with an army knife. Ouch.
This shot-in-New-Mexico comedy more or less casts Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis in an update of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Downey and Galifiankis are the mismatched commuters trying to get home by any means necessary.
For Colored Girls
Tyler Perry tries directing somebody else’s story—in this case, an adaptation of the high school theater state tournament monologue go-to For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, Kimberly Elise, Phylicia Rashad, Whoopi Goldberg and Macy Gray (basically half the African-American actresses in Hollywood) star.
In this computer-animated cartoon, the world’s greatest superhero (Brad Pitt) retires, leaving a brainy supervillain (Will Ferrell) to fill the gap. From the company that gave us Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda.
What was John Lennon like before he became a famous musician? A spotty teenager, pretty much. But this British biopic goes looking for the roots of the musical genius (played here by Kick-Ass’ Aaron Johnson) anyway.
A hotshot television producer (Rachel McAdams, The Notebook) is charged with reviving a struggling morning chat show with feuding co-anchors (Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton). Fair warning: There will be romance.
Space aliens show up in L.A. Instead of asking for our leader, they start Hoovering up humans by the hundreds. Eric Balfour (“Six Feet Under”) and Donald Faison (“Scrubs”) lead the cast in this moderately budgeted sci-fi thriller.
Denzel Washington and Chris Pine (Star Trek) try to put the breaks on a runaway train. That’s not enough for director Tony Scott (Top Gun, Days of Thunder, The Taking of Pelham 123), so the train is also hauling explosives and poisonous gas.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Oh, you know what this is. You’ve been waiting for it. Note, of course, that it’s only “Part 1” of the series finale. You’ll have to wait six months for “Part 2.” That one will be in 3D. This one won’t.
The Next Three Days
Determined hubby Russell Crowe has just three days to break his wife, wrongly accused of murder, out of prison. It’s a remake of the 2008 film French film Anything for Her. But you don’t care about that.
In this light dramedy from Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons), a glamorous newspaper reporter (Gemma Arterton, Quantum of Solace) returns to her tiny hometown in the English countryside, setting off a string of romantic entanglements. It’s loosely based on a novel by Thomas Hardy. But you don’t care about that, either.
A small-town Iowa gal (the questionably Midwestern Christina Aguilera) goes to Los Angeles and gets a job as a waitress at a run-down neo-burlesque club run by a former dancer (Cher). How long before our heroine gets on stage and sings and dances her way to stardom? Not long.
In order to get revenge for his brother’s death, an ex-con (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) must ... well, apparently drive really fast. Billy Bob Thornton is the veteran cop charged with chasing him down.
Disney’s “Princess” line goes computer-animated. This one’s a hip, pop-culture-littered update of the classic Rapunzel tale. Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi lead the surprisingly low-key voice cast.
Love and Other Drugs
A free-spirited gal (Anne Hathaway) and a charming ladies’ man (Jake Gyllenhaal) fall unexpectedly in love. But is it the real thing, or is it just chemical? Based on the true-life memoir Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.
Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream) directs this freaky, feverish showbiz delirium about two young ballet dancers (Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis) who become psycho frenemies while battling for a crucial stage role.
I Love You Phillip Morris
I Love You Phillip Morris
A newly out-of-the-closet husband / con man (Jim Carrey) ends up in the state pen, where he falls madly in love with his cellmate (Ewan McGregor). Thanks to the edgy subject matter, this humorous drama has been sitting on studio shelves for a good long time.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
I think this is the third book in the popular fantasy/Christian parable series. Prince Caspian didn’t do so well at the box office, so Disney pulled out of producing subsequent films. Fox is paying for it now. Given the lion, maybe it should have been MGM.
David O. Russell (Spanking the Monkey, I Heart Huckabees) directs this true-life drama about the early days of boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) who was trained by his half-brother (Christian Bale) before making a Rocky-like run at the welterweight championship in the mid-’80s.
A brokenhearted American tourist (Johnny Depp) runs across an extraordinary and mysterious woman (Angelina Jolie) while on vacation in Italy. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others) directs this classy, Euro-style thriller.
How Do You Know
James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, As Good As It Gets) is back with another fine ensemble cast (Jack Nicholson, Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson). Witherspoon plays a 27-year-old athlete who, feeling a bit past her prime, gets caught in a love triangle.
Broadway conceptualist Julie Taymor (Titus, Frida, Across the Universe) again seeks inspiration in Shakespeare with this weird, witchy, anachronistic take on The Tempest. Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Alan Cumming, Chris Cooper, Djimon Hounsou and David Strathairn are among the impressive, iambic-pentameter-spouting cast.
Hell yeah, new Tron movie. Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner are back. But the video-game-centric film is sexed up with the presence of Olivia Wilde (“House”) and Garrett Hedlund (Troy) and a soundtrack by Daft Punk. I say again: Hell yeah!
Garfield, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Marmaduke would seem to argue for the inclusion of at least one cartoon-inspired CGI/live-action film per movie season. However, the image of a life-sized, Dan Aykroyd-voiced Yogi Bear wandering through Jellystone Park is almost too frightening for words. And, um, why is Justin Timberlake voicing Boo-Boo Bear?
Jack Black finds another unlikely place to unleash his wacky, now somewhat tiresome shenanigans. In this case, Jonathan Swift’s classic 18th-century social satire. Kids, don’t be watching this and trying to do a book report on it. Ain’t gonna fly.
Still find Ben Stiller, Teri Polo, Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman and Blythe Danner saying the word “Focker” funny? Great. Here we go again. This time, there’s a baby involved. A little Focker. ... Heh, heh. “Focker.”
The Coen brothers go back to Charles Portis’ original novel for inspiration, rather than the celebrated 1969 John Wayne film. Jeff Bridges takes over as drunken U.S. Marshal “Rooster” Cogburn, hired by a stubborn young frontier girl to hunt down her father’s killers. Matt Damon and Josh Brolin are also in the saddle for this old-school Western.