It’s shaping up to be a great season for movies… here’s my top ten films we’ll be talking about this winter – in order of release:
CLOUD ATLAS (October 26th)
The premise: A movie that shows the dramatic ways our behaviors impact one another in the past, present and future. One character’s soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and a simple act of kindness has an enormous impact on the world – inspiring a revolution.
Literally everything is eventually tied together – an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage; letters from a composer to his friend; a murder at a nuclear power plant; and more.
Why we’ll be talking: Tom Hanks doesn’t take his movie choices lightly. The cast includes Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant – playing multiple roles. Three directors got together as a team and directed as a team, sharing the credit… a Hollywood rarity.
Synopsis: Denzel Washington is Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot who miraculously crash-lands a commercial plane after a mid-air catastrophe. After, he’s hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise. What really happened on that plane?
Why we’ll be talking: With Denzel Washington starring and Robert Zemeckis directing, this movie is coming out at a good time competition-wise. Expect strong box office returns even in week two.
Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is sick of being a video-game villain – and wants to be a hero, like his game’s perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (voiced by Jack McBrayer). After therapy fails, Ralph escapes into a new shoot-em up game in hopes of finding heroism and happiness. Not surprisingly, things get a LOT worse before they get better. Expect the characters voiced by Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch to do their share of scene stealing.
Why we’ll be talking: It’s a fun family movie that capitalizes on the nostalgia and camp factor of the games we grew up on in the past. (Disney’s internal animation team worked on this one.)
With a release date that clearly hopes to capitalize on American pride from the Presidential election, the movie tells the story of our 16th President Abraham Lincoln. As the Civil War continues to rage, America’s president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
Why we’ll be talking: Daniel Day Lewis is a dead ringer for the guy. This kind of role is custom made for Oscar Buzz. Directed by Steven Spielberg, it also stars Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln and Tommy Lee Jones as Thadeus Stevens.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (November 16th)
If you’re a teenage girl, (and a fair share of adults) this is the highly anticipated next chapter of the The Twilight Saga. The married bliss of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) couldn’t last forever – so why be surprised to learn that the honeymoon is cut short be a series of unfortunate betrayals and all around bad things threaten to destroy their world. Bella gets preggers and why wouldn’t that provide some problems during delivery, given that the dad is a vampire and all. but their new daughter causes more problems than she may be worth with Volturi, the fearsome council of vampire leaders, setting the stage for an all-out battle.
Why we’ll be talking: Well, you know how it is – when Twilight movies come out – we seem to talk about them! They make far too much money to be ignored!
Synopsis: Pat Peoples (Bradley Cooper) is a man always trying to look on the bright side of life –but finds himself in a mental hospital after losing his wife to another man, Then the former teacher moves back in with his parents while trying to reconcile with his now ex-wife. But things get more complicated when he meets Tiffany, (Jennifer Lawrence of “The Hunger Games”) a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
Why we’ll be talking – Cooper and Lawrence are both red hot right now- and this ‘anti-blockbuster’ has an innocence and emotional journey that is already getting good buzz.
Synopsis: Set during the period in which Alfred Hitchcock was making the movie ‘Psycho,’ this is the story of a love triangle of sorts: That between Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville – and the ‘other woman’ in his life – filmmaking itself.
Why we’ll be talking: This is starting in limited released – but the remarkable peformance from star Anthony Hopkins will likely lead to an Oscar nomination. Helen Mirren plays his wife with equal aplomb.
Synopsis: This prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy follows Bilbo Baggins, an upstanding member of the “little people” Hobbits, on a dangerous journey to the Lonely Mountain with Gandalf the Grey. They aim to take back a treasure stolen from them by a dragon.
Expect lots of foes: dragons, giant spiders, hostile elves, ravenous wolves, and even more we can’t explain. You just have to see it.
Trivia: Daniel Radcliffe, Shia LaBeouf, James McAvoy, and Tobey Maguire were among those considered for the role of Bilbo Baggins. The role ultimately went to Martin Freeman – an English actor relatively unknown in the U.S.
Why we’ll be talking: this will be a blockbuster, much like the first installments of the series. End of story!
Synopsis: Ex-military homicide investigator Jack Reacher (Cruise) seeks the truth behind what seems an open-and-shut murder case after a trained military sniper is arrested for shooting five random victims. Not surprisingly, things aren’t what they seem to be. Based on a book in Lee Child’s crime series.
Why we’ll be talking: Tom Cruise is a good actor who makes great movies – but while his box office returns are still respectable, he is no longer the sure thing he used to be. Given that he has come under more scrutiny about Scientology and his split from Katie Holmes, people will be watching to see if the career of this one-time golden boy will survive another PR hit.
An adaptation of the successful stage musical based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel set in 19th-century France, in which a paroled prisoner named Jean Valjean seeks redemption. It was a hit on Broadway for years. Hugh Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (played by Anne Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. (Helena Bonham Carter and Amanda Seyfried also star.)
Why we’ll be talking: It’s truly an epic film – and the director used a remarkable new technique to get the actors to bring even more passion to their performances. They sang live on set, with earpieces and minimal orchestration – not in a studio. The lush ochestral flourishes were added in later.
Have fun, and save me some popcorn!
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