It’s time for the holidays and you know what that means. Shopping, eating and packing on the extra pounds. It also means that Hollywood will be releasing its annual bevy of holiday films just in time to distract us from the fact that we will be eating too much and spending way too much money.
The list is too long to include them all. But, here’s a sampling of some of the more highly anticipated films by release date, along with some trailers.
December 3rd Release Date
“Black Swan” with Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis
So, I don’t know about you, but this is one film I probably won’t be running to the theaters to see. If you are interested, however, the early buzz is that Natalie Portman brilliant. But, given that she rarely turns in a bad performance, I wouldn’t expect anything less from the lovely actress.
Natalie portrays a professional ballerina with the New York City Ballet Company who, at least as far as the trailers reveal, also appears to be quite tortured. In fact, the overall feel of the film is quite dark.
“Black Swan” is rated “R” for strong sexual content, which includes lesbian scenes, disturbing violent images, language and some drug use.
“I Love You Phillip Morris” with Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor
This latest film for Jim Carrey, post Jenny McCarthy break-up is being billed as a comedy-drama-romance. Which is good for Jim Carrey because given his lousy track records with dramas, he should be able to redeem himself if need be with the comedy element of this film.
Jim plays Steven Russell, a small town, married business man who figures out he’s gay after a traumatic, near-death experience. He divorces his wife, played by Debbie Mann, and begins his journey toward self-fulfillment which includes becoming a con-artist. Yeah, I know. Strange premise.
Anyway, considering he chose a life of crime along with exploring his sexuality, Steven Russell ends up in prison where he meets the love of his life (how fitting), Phillip Morris. And here I was thinking the tobacco company had something to do with all of this.
“I Love You Phillip Morris”, the “oddball tale of what can happen when the legal system, a daredevil spirit and undying love collide” is rated “R” for sexual content, strong dialogue and language.
December 10th Release Date
“The Fighter” with Donnie Wahlberg and Christian Bale
After a week of films showcasing homosexuality and lesbianism, week two films start off with a whole lotta testosterone. And aren’t we glad?
One of my all time favorite bad boys, Donnie Wahlberg is producing and starring in this film about a real life fighter from Boston, lightweight title holder, Mickey Ward.
The film is a modern day Rocky type underdog story about Mickey Ward and his brother, Dickey, played by Christian Bale, who is also his trainer with a penchant for trouble and the law.
An underdog story is an underdog story, so no need to rehash the plot here. There’s plenty of blood, sweat and tears, however, as Donnie Wahlberg doesn’t use a stunt double in any of the fight scenes. He trained for years for the part and well, Lordy, it shows.
The filmed is billed as a docudrama and is not yet rated. From what I’ve seen of the trailers, they should rate is “H” for hot. And that would be smokin’.
“The Tourist” with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp
Okay, fine. Let’s just say it. Speaking of hot. “The Tourist” with Angelina and Johnny Depp has been talked about so much the past few months; frankly, I was surprised that it hadn’t opened yet.
The buzz has been not so much around the movie, but around the fact that Johnny Depp’s wife/girlfriend/baby mama, Vanessa Paradis, wasn’t entirely comfortable with the fact that her man would be having torrid love scenes with the man-eater, Angelina Jolie.Yeah, no kidding, Vanessa. Get in line.
The stew was that she wanted Johnny Depp to drop out of the movie or at the very least, drop out of the love scene. Angelina, of course, wanted the steamy sex scenes to stay in the film. The last word was that Vanessa won that round.
The premise of the film is your basic political intrigue, which means, Angelina will likely be a double agent who casts her spell upon the hapless and unsuspecting, Johnny Depp and there will be lots of explosions, chase scenes and gun fire. Got it?
The trailer looks moderately interesting with a bit of humor. But, Angelina’s accent is just silly. However, I may have to go see it just to find out how much of Johnny Depp’s skin touches Angelina’s skin. It could very well be worth the price of the ticket.
“The Tourist” is not yet rated.
December 17th Release Date
“How Did You Know” with Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson
Well, I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t heard that Reese Witherspoon was filming a new movie. Apparently, no one else did either because there’s not much information available about the plot other than it’s billed as a comedy-drama-romance.
The trailers look appealing though, with Reese Witherspoon trying to decide who she loves, Owen Wilson’s character or Paul Rudd.
The film is not yet rated, but I’m figuring a PG-13 with Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson. Jack Nicholson also has a part in the film. The cast is interesting enough that it might be worth a shot.
December 22nd Release Date
“Country Strong” with Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw
Okay, so, you’ve probably heard all about this one already, since Gwyneth Paltrow did her country singing debut at the CMAs this year.
Plot: Washed up, alcoholic country singer trying to make a comeback. Lots of drama. Lots of tears. Lots of country music.
But, listen, the film actually looks entertaining. Personally, I’m thinking Gwyneth Paltrow might have a shot at a singing career if this acting gig doesn’t work out. At the very least, if Tim McGraw keeps acting, he might have a shot as an actor if his singing gigs fizzle out.
For whatever reason, this film is not yet rated either.But check out the trailer here.
December 31st Release Date
“Blue Valentine” with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams
Next to “The Fighter” with Donnie Wahlberg, “Blue Valentine” is HIGH on my list to see. Both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are the kind of actors who choose their work carefully and most of the time they choose well. They are both Oscar nominated for previous work, which should tell you something. They are good. Really good.
There’s been a bit of early buzz around the film due to the NC-17 rating. Back in the day this would be called “X” rated. Both Ryan and Michelle have spoken out against the rating saying that the film only depicts an honest relationship between a husband and a wife. Honest, meaning, there’s lots of graphic sex. Ahem.
There is no question that Ryan Gosling is one of the greatest actors in Hollywood right now, in my view. And the demure and lovely, Michelle Williams, is not doing so bad herself. I’m thinking Ryan Gosling in a film on New Year’s Eve would be enough to get me out of the house and into a theater. How about you?
Check out the trailer here.