Killers, chipmunks, and oil tycoons stars of holiday movie season


By Drew Hanson

There are two seasons in Hollywood: the summer and the holidays. Studios save the best fare for these two times of the year and November marks the beginning of the second half of 2007 for Hollywood. Below is a week-by-week list of movies that might otherwise get overlooked during the next two months.

Nov. 9 – The Cohen brother’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men looks like a welcome return from the directors who brought us Fargo. The plot revolves around three men, $2 million, and a lot of desert.

Not intrigued? Javier Bardem (The Sea Inside) plays a sociopathic killer who decides if his victims live or die by the flip of a coin and Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black series, In the Valley of Elah) plays the sheriff intent on stopping him. Any time Jones plays a sheriff, there seems to be plenty of violence and mayhem. Which is a good thing, right?

Nov. 14 – Richard Kelly, who gave us the cult classic Donnie Darko, will finally release Southland Tales. Set in 2008, Southland is a tale of a renegade cop, the race for the White House and America dealing with the aftermath of two nuclear attacks by terrorists.

Don’t be fooled by the almost all Saturday Night Live cast. Kelly spent the last eight months reworking the movie because a group of people in Cannes, France booed him out of the country when he showed it at last year’s festival.

Nov. 16 – Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) brings us another story of dysfunctional family bliss with Margot at the Wedding. Margot (Nicole Kidman) is a short story writer who likes to harp on her family members. When she shows up to crash her sister’s wedding, dark comedy ensues. Jack Black has a supporting roll as the fiancé and the target of Margot’s anger.

Nov. 21 – The Mist will mark the third time Frank Darabont has adapted a Stephen King story for the big screen (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile). The Mist is a simple story about a town in Maine that is covered by a mysterious blanket of mist, trapping a group of people in a grocery store. To pass time, the group begins a lively discussion about the cause of the mist and tries to figure out why, or for whom, creatures coming out of the mist are picking them off one by one.

Nov. 30 – Awake is about an operation that goes horribly wrong. Clay (Hayden Christensen) has an out-of-body experience when he is being operated on but soon finds out someone doesn’t want him to wake up. Jessica Alba and Terrance Howard flesh out the rest of the cast.

Dec. 5 – Juno has been burning up the awards circuit and garnering praise all across the board. Ellen Page (X-Men series) plays a girl who accidentally gets knocked up by her dorky classmate, played by Michael Cera (Superbad).

She decides to search for a suitable couple to adopt the baby when it is born. However, when the time comes to hand over the baby, it turns out to be more complicated than she thought. Rainn Wilson (The Office) and Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) have supporting roles.

Dec. 7 – In Grace is Gone, John Cusack plays a father who is faced with telling his children that their Army sergeant mother has been killed in Iraq. Instead of telling them right away, he decides to take them on a road trip, which turns into an emotional journey for Cusack’s character.

This movie stands out from a majority of recent films dealing with the war because it deals with the impact of the soldiers’ deaths on their families.

Dec. 14 – In their first live-action roles, Alvin, Simon and Theodore terrorize Dave Seville (Jason Lee) in Alvin and the Chipmunks.

In something a bit less family friendly, Will Smith thinks he is the last man on earth, but soon realizes he’s not alone. In I Am Legend, based on the Richard Matheson novel, Smith has to fight to keep alive when zombie/vampires decide they want the Earth to themselves.

Dec. 21 – National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Sweeny Todd, and the faux-music biopic Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story will all vie for box office gold on the weekend before Christmas.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets follows the previous story of Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage), Sweeny Todd stars Johnny Depp as a barber who also moonlights as a serial killer and Walk Hard brings us satirical relief from the biopic music films Hollywood has been ramming down our throats in recent years.

Dec. 25 – Christmas Day gives us a collection of movies for the whole family. There’s the political (Charlie Wilson’s War), the fanciful (The Water Horse), the moving (The Bucket List) and the gory (Alien vs. Predator: Requiem).

Dec. 26 – Finishing off the holiday movie season is Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. Known for his stunning original works (Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Punch-Drunk Love), this is the first time Anderson has adapted someone else’s work.

Based on Upton Sinclair’s Oil!, the film follows a land prospector (Daniel Day Lewis) who hits a big oil payoff and must carefully balance keeping the towns folk happy while exploiting them.


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