Holiday Movie Preview

While your family is pushing back from the Thanksgiving table, you might follow the crowd and consider taking in a movie.

The Thanksgiving weekend is one of the highest-grossing box office weekends of the year. Movie studios are eager to greet people taking a long break from school and work.

Which new releases are destined to be hits and which will be turkeys?

We sat down with Daily Herald film critic Dann Gire to find out what he thinks will top the charts this holiday season.

The holiday season started early this year when a new DreamWorks animated movie came out November 5th. Megamind lured moviegoers in to theaters, to the tune of $46 million in its first week on the big screen.

Walt Disney Pictures is taking a famous fairytale from the Brothers Grimm and recreating it in their newest 3-D animated movie: Tangled.

“This is Rapunzel, the animated version by Walt Disney, with Mandy Moore doing the voice,” said Gire. “It looks like it’s going to be a very fun motion picture based on the trailers.”

‘Tis the season for retelling old stories. The next movie on our top five kids’ film list is based on the classic Jonathan Swift book: Gulliver’s Travels, starring Jack Black.

“You have Jack Black, how can you go wrong with that?” said Gire. “It takes Gulliver the traveler and he goes to the island and he becomes a giant, and the little guys all pin him down. It looks like it’s going to be terrific.”

And another Baby Boomer favorite puts in a holiday film appearance.

“Baby boomers will remember Yogi Bear from their youth in the ‘60s where he was hanging out with Huckleberry Hound and Snaglepuss the Lion and it was Saturday morning cartoons,” said Gire. “Dan Akroyd supplies the voice of Yogi. Justin Timberlake plays Boo Boo bear.”

And finally for the kids, Ron, Hermione and Harry are back for the most anticipated movie of the 2010 holiday season, the seventh Harry Potter movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1. This movie is the first half of the final book in the series. The second part comes out in 2011.

“Very clever of them to take one book, break it into two movies, maximizing therefore, twice as much box office for the same rights,” said Gire.

And the Gire’s top five films for adults this holiday season? Topping the list, the remake of the 1969 classic, True Grit.

“The only Oscar that John Wayne ever got was for True Grit,” said Gire. “He plays Marshal Cogbourne, a grisly old marshal that’s seen it all, and wears an eye patch. Here Jeff Bridges plays it. I can’t wait to see what they do with True Grit.”

Our next movie for adults has everyone buzzing. 127 Hours is based on a true story. This film focuses on a mountain climber’s struggle to free himself following a fall in the desert.

“This film is just all about him trying to figure out how to stay alive for 127 hours, which is how long the real guy managed to stay alive,” said Gire. “I’m not going to say any more than that, other than drastic circumstances require drastic measures. It’s tension packed.”

“Almost as tension packed as Unstoppable. This is the runaway train with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. It is an unbelievably riveting experience. “

British actor Colin Firth explores a different type of personal struggle in The King’s Speech. He plays King George VI, a monarch trying to combat his stutter on the eve of perhaps the most important speech of his life.

“This sounds like this has got to be a snore, but it has gotten tremendous amounts of good PR and lots of buzz. I’m really looking forward to seeing this,” said Gire.

Our final movie for adults is Love and Other Drugs, starring Jake Gyllenhal and Anne Hathaway.

“It’s a very mature, very sophisticated romance between a man and a woman,” said Gire. “The woman has a debilitating disease. It is one of the most frank; best acted and most honestly acted movies with sex in it. There’s a lot of nudity, but instead of it being exploitative, it just becomes part of the story after awhile. You quit noticing it and it becomes two people who are opening up their souls to each other and not just their bodies. And so, it really is one of the best romantic circumstances I’ve seen in years.”

The pressure is on. Just a year ago, the vampires scored a $143 million opening weekend with Twilight: New Moon. Where consumers’ hard earned dollars fall this year will determine what kinds of films get the green light for production in 2011.


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