So what is Hollywood putting in our stockings this Christmas?
For starters: Frenchmen on the barricades, a Russian noblewoman in disgrace, a Hobbit on the road, an ex-slave out for revenge, a family struggling to survive a killer tsunami, a famed filmmaker seeking a new challenge, a married couple facing up to 40, a president entertaining British royalty, and intelligence agents hunting for Osama Bin Laden.
Of course, when Hollywood gives during the holiday season, it’s expecting to get something back: Oscar gold. The movies just mentioned — "Les Misérables," "Anna Karenina," "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," "Django Unchained," "The Impossible," "Hitchcock," "This Is 40," "Hyde Park on Hudson" and "Zero Dark Thirty" — are all expected to be contending for Academy Awards this February.
But not everything coming to theaters in the next month or so has such lofty ambitions. There still are plenty of popcorn flicks, horror movies and goofy comedies to satisfy divergent tastes.
So here are 42 titles expected to hit theaters from now through January, as well as major Oscar bait that won’t arrive in Utah until February. (Release dates are tentative.)
"Anna Karenina" » "Atonement" director Joe Wright and star Keira Knightley reunite for this grandly theatrical adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel of a torrid affair in St. Petersburg’s high society.
"The Collection" » In this horror thriller, a man (Josh Stewart) escapes the clutches of a serial killer, only to be kidnapped by a victim’s wealthy father to rescue his daughter (Emma Fitzpatrick) from the same killer.
"Killing Them Softly" » Brad Pitt plays a mob "enforcer" investigating a heist at a mob-protected poker game in director Andrew Dominik’s adaptation of a George V. Higgins novel.
"Somewhere Between" » Four U.S. teens, all adopted from China due to complications of China’s "One Child" policy, are profiled in this documentary.
"Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel" » The larger-than-life fashion editor gets the documentary treatment.
"The Loneliest Planet" » An engaged couple (Gael García Bernal, Hani Furstenburg) go backpacking in the Caucasus mountains, where one misstep changes everything in their relationship.
"Playing for Keeps" » Gerard Butler plays an ex-jock who starts coaching his son’s soccer team — and meets some lovely soccer moms (Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones).
"Waiting for Lightning" » Skateboarder Danny Way’s effort to jump over the Great Wall of China is depicted in this documentary.
"The Flat" » Israeli filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger cleans out the apartment belonging to his late grandparents — immigrants from Nazi Germany — and discovers clues to a complex and shocking story.
"Hitchcock" » Anthony Hopkins has a ball portraying the legendary director when he risks his career on his next movie: "Psycho." Helen Mirren plays Hitchcock’s wife, Alma; Scarlett Johansson portrays Janet Leigh.
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" » Director Peter Jackson returns to Middle-earth with the first of a three-part prequel to "The Lord of the Rings."
"Holy Motors" » A shadowy character takes on many roles in Leos Carax’s surreal drama, which made quite a splash at Cannes this year.
"The Guilt Trip" » A comedy about an inventor (Seth Rogen) who goes on a road trip to sell his latest creation — with his mother (Barbra Streisand) along for the ride.
"Monsters Inc. 3D" » Pixar’s 2001 adventure of monsters scaring kids to power their world returns in a 3-D conversion ahead of next summer’s prequel, "Monsters University."Next Page >
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