Holiday Movie Season Promises Passion, Blood and Adventure

Nathan Fisher

The holidays are fast approaching––oh yeah, finals too––so here’s a quick peek at some movies we can look forward to seeing now through winter break. Actually, two big blockbusters have already come out: Daniel Craig stars in the latest 007 installment, “Skyfall” (Nov. 9), packed with cool stunts and lots of action; and the final “Twilight” installment, “Breaking Dawn: Part 2” (Nov. 16) will eventually, thank god, put closure to the vampire/werewolf debacle. Now, here are the movies I am looking forward to seeing during the holidays:

A good musical is essential for the holidays, and “Les Misérables” (Dec. 25) looks to be a worthy find. Be warned, though: “Les Misérables” is not a happy, upbeat musical like last year’s “The Muppets,” but is set in 19th-century France, where Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is imprisoned. Upon his release, Valjean breaks his parole and is pursued by Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). In his attempt to dodge Javert, Valjean agrees to care for Fantine’s (Anne Hathaway) daughter. Fantine is forced to turn to a life of prostitution to afford to live. Although this is not a sweet, feel-good movie, the cast can act, and they have wonderful voices. The trailer of Hathaway singing “I Dreamed a Dream” was beautiful and showcased the epic passion in this great story and long-running Broadway musical.

On a more upbeat note, I am looking forward to seeing the animated movie “Rise of the Guardians” (Nov. 21––last week, I know). Up until “Wreck-it Ralph,” I have been very disappointed with the quality of movies for kids of all ages. “Rise of the Guardians,” though, shows some promise with its classic good-versus-evil fight featuring the Nightmare King (Jude Law), Jack Frost (Chris Pine), Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin, always one of my favorites), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), the Sandman and the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman, shedding his jailbird role in “Les Misérables” for a lighter role). These unlikely “avengers” unite and fight for the good of the world.

Moving to the blood-and-guts genre, I am very excited for Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” (Dec. 25). The movie is set just before the Civil War and follows a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx), who is promised his and his wife’s freedom if he helps bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christopher Waltz) find and kill the infamous Brittle Brothers. While trying to free Django’s wife, the duo runs across Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who runs a large plantation in the South. The movie is filled with an oddball mix of big-name actors including Samuel L. Jackson, Sacha Baron Cohen and Jonah Hill (I cannot quite imagine him with a gun, though). This being a Tarantino movie, you should expect plenty of gunfire, violence and blood––yup, a perfect movie to see after opening up presents!

The movie I am most looking forward to seeing is “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (Dec. 14). I know it comes out at the end of finals week, but I am such a Tolkien fan that I won’t miss the midnight premiere. “The Hobbit” is J.R.R. Tolkien’s prequel of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, where Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is pushed into a partnership with a band of dwarves and thrust into an adventure of a lifetime across Middle-earth. Reprising the role of Frodo is Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis is back as Gollum and of course the biggest badass of all time is Ian McKellen at age 73 as Gandalf. My only beef with “The Hobbit” is splitting it into three movies––unnecessary, in my opinion, but I will not quibble with this great franchise.

Wrapping up the holiday movie releases, I wanted to give a quick shout-out to Kathryn Bigelow’s new film “Zero Dark Thirty” (Dec. 19), Tom Cruise’s new shoot-em-up “Jack Reacher” (Dec. 21), Billy Crystal and Bette Midler’s new comedy “Parental Guidance” (Dec. 25), and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence’s “Silver Linings Playbook” (Nov. 21). Looks like we are in for a treat at the theaters for the next two months––happy holidays and happy movie-watching!