Hollywood breaks out the holiday heavyweights
By Rick BentleyThe Fresno Bee | Thursday, November 8, 2012
Brush off your Cabbage Patch Kids, get out your Bangles album and squeeze some air into your Reebok Pumps.
The ’80s are back, at least when it comes to this year’s holiday movie releases.
Just look at the lineup of films scheduled for movie theaters between now and Christmas: There is a remake of the 1984 classic “Red Dawn.” James Bond, who spied his way through five movies in the ’80s, returns to the big screen, plus there’s a film version of “Les Miserables,” a musical that debuted on Broadway in 1987.
Even Barbra Streisand, who starred in the ’80s films “Nuts” and “Yentl,” is back with “Guilt Trip.”
For those of you who are less nostalgic, there’s also the finale of the “Twilight” film saga and the beginning of the new “Hobbit” franchise.
Here’s a look at some of the films scheduled to open this holiday season. Note that release dates are subject to change.
Stars: Daniel Craig, Helen McCrory, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem
Director: Sam Mendes
Plot: James Bond must track down the threat to MI6.
What to expect: It’s a Bond film. There will be action, lots of action.
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Director: Steven Spielberg
Plot: Abraham Lincoln pushes to get support to emancipate slaves.
What to expect: This is not the typical Spielberg film and may disappoint those looking for big special effects and stunts.
‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2’
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Director: Bill Condon
Plot: New mom Bella becomes the key player in a vampire battle royale.
What to expect: Fans will flock to see the final film.
Stars: Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Chris Hemsworth
Director: Dan Bradley
Plot: Teens fight to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers.
What to expect: Has a lot to live up to because the original 1984 movie is a cult classic.
‘Life of Pi’
Stars: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan
Director: Ang Lee
Plot: An Indian boy is adrift at sea with a Bengal tiger.
What to expect: Will be a visual feast.
‘Rise of the Guardians’
Stars: Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin
Director: Peter Ramsey
Plot: Immortal Guardians team up to protect children.
What to expect: Familiar characters will entertain young and old.
‘Killing Them Softly’
Stars: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins
Director: Andrew Dominik
Plot: An enforcer must track down three crooks who robbed the Mob.
What to expect: Box office totals will be driven by Pitt’s appeal.
December ‘Playing for Keeps’
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Gerard Butler
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Plot: A man’s attempt to reconnect with his son gets sidetracked by a coaching job.
What to expect: Will fill the void of romantic comedies.
‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’
Stars: Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Martin Freeman
Director: Peter Jackson
Plot: Bilbo Baggins joins a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.
What to expect: It will be a monumental launch for this film franchise.
‘Zero Dark Thirty’
Stars: Joel Edgerton, Kyle Chandler, Chris Pratt, Harold Perrineau
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Plot: Navy SEAL Team 6 searches for Osama Bin Laden.
What to expect: Could be the surprise hit of the holiday season.
‘This is 40’
Stars: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, John Lithgow, Megan Fox
Director: Judd Apatow
Plot: A look at the lives of Pete and Debbie a few years after “Knocked Up.”
What to expect: Hard to say since Apatow’s humor is hit and miss.
Stars: Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Rosamund Pike
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Plot: A detective looks into the sniper shooting of five people.
What to expect: Tom Cruise is a safe bet when he’s not in a musical.
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried
Director: Tom Hooper
Plot: Ex-prisoner Jean Valjean’s life changes when he agrees to care for a factory worker’s young daughter.
What to expect: The popularity of the stage production will make this a box office hit.
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Plot: A slave works with a German bounty hunter to track killers.
What to expect: It’s a Tarantino film, so expect this pre-Civil War film to be action-packed and bloody.
Stars: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Tom Everett Scott, Marisa Tomei
Director: Andy Fickman
Plot: A grandfather’s parenting skills are tested.
What to expect: Crystal and Midler should produce plenty of laughs.
Stars: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Yvonne Strahovski
Director: Anne Fletcher
Plot: An inventor and his mother go on a road trip.
What to expect: It all depends on Rogen and Streisand chemistry.