"What’s hot? What’s not? I dunno. But here’s a glance at a few high-profile films due between now and Christmas Day. God bless us, every one, and let’s hope the movies are good.
The Golden Compass
Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig star in this fantasy adventure based on the first story in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Various conservative groups are denouncing the film, saying it’s “about Satan overthrowing the authority of God” and calling it “atheism for kids.” Star Craig says, “These books are not anti-religious. I think that mainly they’re anti-misuse of power — whether it’s religious or political.” Release date: Dec 7.
I am Legend
And I am really looking forward to this one. Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel about scientist Robert Neville, the last human survivor of a plague that has turned people into vampire-like creatures, scared me silly. Earlier film versions of the story — 1964’s The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price and 1971’s The Omega Man with Charlton Heston — couldn’t do justice to the book. Hopefully, the new Will Smith version will prove that third time’s the charm. Um, perhaps “charm” is not the right word ... Dec. 14.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter star in Tim Burton’s bloody adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s celebrated horror musical about revenge and a special type of meat pie. Though I’m a much bigger fan of Burton’s earlier works (Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetle Juice, Mars Attacks!) than his recent offerings (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride), I’m anxious to see if he can pull this one off. Dec. 21.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Hollywood movie biographies of music legends get spoofed in this comedy starring John C. Reilly and The Office’s Jenna Fischer in the epic life story of legendary musician Dewey Cox (Reilly) as he rises from a poor life on an Alabama farm to experience a roller coaster career spanning seven decades. Co-written and produced by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Superbad). Dec. 21.
The Great Debaters
Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker star in the inspired-by-fact tale of a debate team coach (Washington, who also directs) at a small black college in the South whose efforts with the students result in the squad receiving an invitation to take on the renowned debate team at Harvard. Dec. 25.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
Fantasy about a young Scottish boy who discovers a mysterious egg that hatches into a dragon-like creature that keeps growing and growing. When it becomes too large to keep hidden at home, a trip to Loch Ness is suggested. Emily Watson and David Morrissey star. Dec. 25.
Charlie Wilson’s War
Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in a based-on-fact story about a playboy congressman, a renegade CIA agent and a Houston socialite who joined forces for a massive covert operation that contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Enchanted’s Amy Adams co-star in the Mike Nichols drama. Dec. 25.