Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Holiday Movie Preview

There is no time like the holidays to kick back, throw on a fuzzy reindeer sweater and catch a flick at the multiplex. You’ve got movies about pedophile priests and overbearing nuns, aliens landing to end the earth, washed up wrestlers clinging to fame, married couple crumbling underneath the pressure and fantastical tales of men who grow young instead of old. Yes, all this strife is what the holidays are all about and Hollywood is there for you. Join Black Sheep as we look ahead the 2008 Holiday Movie Preview.

Written and Directed by John Patrick Shanley
Starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffmann and Amy Adams
(December 12)

Shanley brings his Pulitzer-prize winning play to the big screen with a remarkable cast. He may not have a movie since 1990’s JOE VS THE VOLCANO but the source material is so solid here that its hard to imagine him missing the mark entirely. It has Oscar buzz written all over it and Streep’s biting ferocity in the trailer has got me practically peeing in my pants.

RANDOM TIDBIT: Natalie Portman was originally considered for the Amy Adams role but she could not connect with the celibate plight of a nun.

Written by David Scarpa
Directed by Scott Derrickson
Starring Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly and Kathy Bates
(December 12)

Derrickson remakes the 1951 classic which most consider to be pretty darn near already perfect. Well, nothing guarantees the integrity of a film like casting Keanu Reeves. No, but seriously, the trailers are intriguing and 20th Century Fox is certainly to catch the same audience that made I AM LEGEND into a $256 million domestic smash.

RANDOM TIDBIT: The original film was directed by Robert Wise, director of the first STAR TREK film as well as WEST SIDE STORY and THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

Written by Robert D. Siegal
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood
(December 17)

After his last film, THE FOUNTAIN, tanked loudly, Aronofsky needed some seclusion and rest. He’s coming back fighting though with this unlikely crowd pleaser. The film was bought by Fox Searchlight at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and Rourke is considered a front-runner in the Best Actor category at this year’s Oscars.

RANDOM TIDBIT: Nicolas Cage was originally considered for the Rourke character. He had even started his research phase but was eventually replaced by Rourke for undisclosed reasons.

Written by Justin Haythe
Directed by Sam Mendes
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Kathy Bates
(December 26)

Who hasn’t wanted to see DiCaprio and Winslet get back together on screen since they last paired in TITANIC? Ok, it may not be as desperate a scenario as I make it out to be but people are definitely excited to see them together again. Only this time, they’re not falling in love, they’re falling into monotony. Honestly, I’m more excited to see Mendes deal with some of the same issues he did in AMERICAN BEAUTY.

RANDOM TIDBIT: I got two for you here. This is actually the first time that Winslet and Mendes, who have been married for years now, have worked together. Also, Todd Field was originally attached to direct this but he chose to do LITTLE CHILDREN instead, also starring Winslet.

Written by Eric Roth
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton
(December 25)

Here’s an interesting one. Pitt plays Benjamin Button, a man who is aging backwards while the rest of the worlds ages as per the norm. You can imagine how difficult this makes dealing with humanity. Fincher, the mman behind such contemporary classics as SE7EN, FIGHT CLUB and last year’s ZODIAC, is a front runner in the Best Director category and the picture is being tipped as the film to beat this year. I know where I will be on Christmas day.

RANDOM TIDBIT: Pitt’s daughter, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, makes a cameo appearance in the film. She was 10 months old when the footage was shot.

Also in December: Beyonce channels Etta James in CADILLAC RECORDS. Ron Howard brings the wildly successful play, FROST/NIXON to the screen and hopefully the Oscars. Stephen Daldry follows us THE HOURS with another literary adaptation, THE READER, starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes. Client Eastwood tries for another Oscar with GRAN TURINO, in which he plays what seems like a grumpy old man … with a gun! Michelle Williams turns in an incredibly understated performance as a vagrant looking for her dog in WENDY & LUCY. Box office golden boy, Will Smith reteams with THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS director, Gabrele Muccino in SEVEN POUNDS. Say yes to Jim Carrey in THE YES MAN. Graphic novel king, Frank Miller, tries his hand at directing by himself with THE SPIRIT. Tom Cruise tries for prestige with VALKYRIE but I don’t hear anyone caring. And Owen Wilson returns to film after his suicide attempt last year with MARLEY & ME, a movie about a man and the world’s worst dog. Apparently now, he wants to kill his career instead of himself. Hmmm, too soon? Oh well, Happy Holidays!!

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