35 holiday movies to anticipate
A list of major films opening between Dec. 10 and January 2011 include "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," "The Tourist," "TRON: Legacy" and a remake of "True Grit."
Seattle Times movie critic
The holidays ... time for mistletoe, stuffing, snowflakes and a lot of movies. Here's some of what you can expect to find at the multiplexes and arthouses through the end of the year; note that all dates are tentative and can change faster than the price of department-store cashmere.
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader": Say it with me: Eustace Clarence Scrubb! The third installment of the Narnia series sets sail, this time with director Michael Apted (the "Seven Up" documentary series; "The World Is Not Enough") at the helm.
"Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale": The season's obligatory movie with "Christmas" in the title is a fantasy from Finland, in which the real Santa Claus is discovered on an archaeological dig.
"Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields": Seen at Seattle International Film Festival earlier this year, this portrait of the songwriter/musician won a grand prize at the Los Angeles Outfest.
"The Tourist": If Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie collide in a movie, does the resulting movie-star chemistry wreak havoc with the earth's temperature? Find out in this adventure set in Venice and Paris, directed by the wonderfully named Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.
"White Material": Isabelle Huppert stars in Claire Denis' latest, about a woman determined to remain on her African coffee plantation despite looming civil war.
"Black Swan": Darren Aronofsky ("Requiem for a Dream," "The Wrestler") takes on the world of ballet in this thriller about a ballerina (Natalie Portman, getting plenty of Oscar buzz) desperate to star in "Swan Lake."
"All Good Things": Kirsten Dunst and Ryan Gosling star in this fact-based story of scandal in a wealthy family in '80s New York, directed by Andrew Jarecki ("Capturing the Friedmans").
"Budrus": Julie Bacha's documentary about a Palestinian community organizer has won awards at film festivals around the world.
"The Fighter": Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams get in the Oscar ring with David O. Russell's based-on-a-true-story tale of a boxer and his crack-addicted brother.
"Henri-George Clouzot's Inferno": Northwest Film Forum presents a unique documentary about the making and reconstruction of Clouzot's doomed drama "Inferno," abandoned in 1964 when the lead actor quit and Clouzot suffered a heart attack.
"How Do You Know": The blandest movie title of the season belongs to James L. Brooks' new romantic comedy, starring Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd as the three points of a love triangle.
"I Love You Philip Morris": Long-delayed, this fact-based comedy about a con artist (Jim Carrey) in love with a fellow prison inmate (Ewan McGregor) finally arrives in theaters.
"Queen of the Lot": Henry Jaglom's new comedy is about a B-movie actress (Tanna Frederick) seeking stardom, despite being under house arrest.
"The Tempest": Shakespeare's play gets the Julie Taymor treatment, with Helen Mirren as Prospera, Russell Brand as Trinculo and Djimon Hounsou as Caliban.
"TRON: Legacy": Surely you've heard of this one. Jeff Bridges, last seen winning an Oscar for "Crazy Heart," returns for a sequel to the 1982 Disney video-game adventure "TRON."
"Yogi Bear": Let's hope he's smarter than the average bear. Live action and computer animation blend for this family comedy, with Dan Aykroyd voicing the big guy and Justin Timberlake as sidekick Boo Boo.
"Gulliver's Travels": Jack Black stars as a travel writer who stumbles upon a country of tiny folk in this (rather loose, I'll guess) adaptation of Jonathan Swift's novel; Emily Blunt and Jason Segel co-star.
"The Little Fockers": And they're back — the oddball Focker family, that is, complete with a new generation. Ben Stiller stars as Greg Focker, Robert De Niro as his father-in-law, and Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand as his oh-so-kooky parents.
"True Grit": Charles Portis' novel about a young girl seeking retribution for her father's murder was filmed once before with John Wayne in 1969; now Joel and Ethan Coen ("No Country for Old Men") take a shot at it, with Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin starring.
"Tiny Furniture": Young indie filmmaker Lena Dunham wrote, directed and stars in this drama about a young woman just home from college who's trying to sort out her life.
"The King's Speech": Paging Oscar: Colin Firth plays the future King George VI, who must cope with a speech defect as he unexpectedly ascends to the throne of England, in this historical drama from Tom Hooper, co-starring Geoffrey Rush as the King's speech therapist and Helena Bonham Carter as his supportive wife (the eventual Queen Mum).
"Rabbit Hole": Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire, this drama stars Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as parents grieving the loss of a child. John Cameron Mitchell ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch") directs.
"Made in Dagenham": Sally Hawkins ("Happy-Go-Lucky") plays the leader of a group of women determined to improve conditions in the auto factory where they work in '60s England. Directed by Nigel Cole ("Calendar Girls").
Inevitably, a handful of movies won't make it to Seattle theaters until the new year, but are nonetheless Oscar-eligible for 2010. Here are some of them, with projected release dates:
"Country Strong": Gwyneth Paltrow, perhaps noticing what playing a country singer did for Jeff Bridges, does the same in this drama written and directed by Shana Feste (Jan. 7).
"Somewhere": Sofia Coppola's latest follows a weary actor (Stephen Dorff) unexpectedly reunited with his young daughter (Elle Fanning) at an L.A. hotel (Jan. 7).
"Another Year": British filmmaker Mike Leigh's new drama follows that rarity on screen, a happily married couple (Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen). Lesley Manville, as their less-happy friend, could well be an Oscar dark horse (Jan. 21).
"Undertow": Peru's official submission for Academy Award consideration, this drama set in a seaside village had many fans when it screened earlier this year at Seattle's Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (Jan. 21).
"Enemies of the People": This British documentary, a semifinalist for the Academy Award for nonfiction film, examines the truth about Cambodia's Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge (Jan. 21).
"The Way Back": Peter Weir's first movie since 2003's "Master and Commander," a World War II-era drama, stars Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell and the ever-wonderful Saoirse Ronan ("The Lovely Bones") (Jan. 21).
"The Illusionist": A semifinalist for the Academy Award for animated film, this near-silent French film is based on an unproduced script by Jacques Tati (Jan. 28).
"The Company Men": Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones play three men "downsized" from their jobs and facing a new life in this drama from writer/director John Wells ("E.R.") (January TBD).
"Biutiful": Javier Bardem's been making the rounds of film festivals with Alejandro González Iñárritu's drama about a Barcelona man haunted by his past. It's Mexico's submission for the foreign-language film Oscar (January TBD).
"Blue Valentine": Never mind that NC-17 rating; word is that Derek Cianfrance's story of a marriage is an acting tour de force for Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams (January TBD).
"Barney's Version": Paul Giamatti gets a colorful lead role in this Canadian adaptation of Mordecai Richler's novel (Feb. 11).
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.