Have you finished your shopping? Finding yourself inundated with the gaudy bonfire of commerce otherwise known as the holiday season? Although to be fair, for some reason it seems oddly manageable this year. Perhaps we’re more in tune with the times. So it’s only semi-overcommercialized. Fine by me. Besides, what’s the best thing to do with friends and family over the holidays to lessen tension and diminish anxiety? Go to the movies. Doctors will even tell you that this is wise because it gets you out of the house, lets you step outside your life and peer curiously, invisibly and judgmentally into someone else’s — on screen. What could be better? You laugh, you cry…and isn’t it preferable to do so at the movies than at the holiday dinner table? This season we’ve got some very cool flicks headed our way, and of course the Oscar race is already heating up, big time. Early prediction (nor am I splitting the atom here, anyone who’s seen the movie will agree): Colin Firth will take the Best Actor trophy for his riveting performance in The Kings Speech. That’s pretty much a done deal, far as I’m concerned. Now let’s talk about what’s in theaters TODAY, because there are several items you might want to check out. There’s a fantasy flick for the kids that’s going to make a run for those Tangled dollars, there’s a Shakespearean piece which I will see and not understand in the slightest, there’s a boxing piece that’s getting attention, and there’s a Johnny Depp/ Angelina Jolie movie that has See This Tonight written all over it. Now to specifics. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is just exactly what you think it is, the latest and third in the C.S.Lewis canon. Mystery, adventure, brave children, and a dashing Prince Caspian will bring families in droves. The Tempest is Julie Taymor’s latest (she’s the Broadway director who blew everyone away with The Lion King) and this boasts a massive cast of serious thespians English and otherwise (Dame Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, etc). This is Shakespeare and it’s likely to be very, very good but not necessarily very, very popular. Then, Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale star in The Fighter, based on the life of champion boxer “Irish” Micky Ward which will be popular and which will also probably garner Oscar attention for Bale, at least. Finally we have The Tourist which is set in Venice and which stars two of the most popular actors in the world right now (Depp and Jolie, also PCA nominees) and this looks like sheer fun from the getgo. These are the big movies opening in theaters today; have a great weekend and just remember: when it comes to a) holiday family gatherings, b) the application of makeup, c) salting one’s popcorn and d) taking a driver’s test, moderation is always the wisest policy. We’ll be back next week with more from Hollywood.
1) The Chronicles of Narnia
2) The Fighter
3) The Tempest
4) The Tourist
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