Holiday 2010 Movie Preview

Ah yes, the holidays. A time for family, for relaxing, for taking a break and just clearing your mind. In addition to all this, it’s also a time for film and luckily, we’ve got a few great films to look forward to this holiday season.

Join us as the film staff at We Got This Covered sit down and tell you what movies we’re looking forward to, and why you should be excited for them as well.

Black Swan

Release Date: December 3, 2010

To me a “ballet film” does not sound interesting at all.  However, attach Darren Aronofsky in the director’s chair and put Vincent Cassell in a role and I’m immediately more interested. However, from trailers and the little I know about the film, Black Swan is more than just a film about ballet.

The trailer and reactions from some critics make it seem like a jumble of different ideas and genres ending up with a film which is entirely demented. UK critic Mark Kermode called the last half hour “Dario Argento on crack” which sounds… interesting. I have been deliberately staying away from most reviews and internet bloggers for what they have to say on the film, the trailer if anything gave away more than I wanted to know.

Although I think Aronofsky is a very fine filmmaker I am not a huge fan of any other of his films outside of The Wrestler, but this seems like really dark, bizarre and new territory for him. He has also been throwing around comparisons to The Wrestler and Natalie Portman’s performance does look to be as awards-courting as Mickey Rourke’s was. Much has also been talked about in regards to Winona Ryder’s cameo and the deliberate filmmaking shock tactics employed by Aronofsky, which makes this one to watch for the Winter season. – Will Chadwick

True Grit

Release Date: December 22, 2010

To many people the prospect of remaking a John Wayne film is the very definition of cinematic sacrilege, in the case of True Grit, however, when the Coen Brothers are attached to write/direct a new adaptation you cannot just treat it as another remake. The Coens are the most interesting filmmakers around right now, they make fantastic movies and are among the best writer/director teams of all time. Bringing them closer to the Western genre could be perfect to match their idiosyncratic techniques and style, creating a postmodern look at the iconography and conventions of the genre.

It also sees them re-teaming with acting God, Jeff Bridges, whose role in their previous collaboration, The Big Lebowski, created one of the most iconic characters of the past 20 years. Here together, the Coens and Bridges are attempting to reinvent an icon. In the role of Rooster Cogburn, Wayne won his only Oscar and there is tremendous pressure to create something new.

There is also the arrival of newcomer Hailee Steinfeld in the role of Mattie Ross, the girl on the hunt for her father’s killer. According to the brothers, the film revolves entirely round the girl, which is much closer to the Charles Portis novel. But if you’re a Coens fan, and have seen both trailers then you know this is not one to miss. – Will Chadwick

The Tourist

Release Date: December 10, 2010

The Tourist should absolutely be one of the most anticipated films of the year. There are several reasons why. The most obvious is, of course, Ms. Jolie who is the very definition of stunning in what we’ve seen from the trailers. But let’s not forget that she can really act when she’s in the right projects. Besides Angelina, there are several other very talented actors including Paul Bettany, Johnny Depp and Timothy Dalton, just to name a few.

A fantastic cast is only part of the equation though. The huge draw to this film should be attributed to its director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. It’s a mouthful, but you may remember it from 2006, when the film that he wrote and directed, The Lives of Others, astounded critics and audiences alike. Journalist John Podhoretz called it “one of the greatest films ever made. And certainly the best film of this decade.” William F. Buckley Jr. said, immediately after watching it, “I think that is the best movie I ever saw.”  Ebert gave it four stars and The New York Times called it ‘remarkable,’ ‘supremely intelligent, unfailingly honest.’

Now, for the first time since that nearly universally loved film, Donnersmarck has written and directed another film, The Tourist. Instead of Martina Gedeck, it’s Angelina Jolie. In place of Ulrich Mühe, it’s Johnny Depp. This is a very special cast, with an even more distinguished director.  The promise of this film is more exciting than most. Yes, you should all be very excited for The Tourist. – Blake Griffin

TRON: Legacy

Release Date: December 17, 2010

Oh what a spectacle it will be. An audio/video spectacle that is. Disney is bringing back Tron, and they’re going big with it. Throwing it up in IMAX/3D, TRON: Legacy is going to assault your aural and visual senses, in a good way. With Daft Punk handling the music and high speed digital cameras providing some unique visuals, this is going to be very pleasing on the eyes and ears.

Disney has been pushing the film hard, and if you’ve been following it, you’ll have seen a lot of media relating to the film already. Pictures, trailers, clips, soundtrack previews etc. It’s all out there and from what I can tell so far, I don’t think this is going to disappoint. Disney is banking hard on it and if they screw this one up, the Tron fans may just revolt. Going into this one, I’m expecting pure entertainment, nothing more and nothing less, and I’m happy to say, I think my expectations will be met. – Matt Joseph

Little Fockers

Release Date: December 22, 2010

Gaylord Focker is back with more Fockers than ever.  In the third, and what seems to be the final installment of the Meet the Parents franchise, we welcome the Little Fockers. Greg and Pamela have grown their family and now have two children and are welcoming the arrival of another baby. The original cast is back in the third instalment and they’ve also welcomed a few new faces such as the very beautiful and talented Jessica Alba.

This franchise has always brought a smile to my face and should do so once again when it opens during the holiday season. The holidays are all about family and what better way to spend it then with the Fockers and the Byrnes. We have seen this family grow over the years and can all relate to the ongoing battle between son-in-law Greg Focker and father-in-law Jack Byrnes. This is why we love the films. We see the relationships and can relate it to our own lives, although it does get a little extreme in the films. I cannot wait for the release of this film because I know I will walk away with some good laughs and a happy smile. – Avi Rothschild

The Fighter

Release Date: December 10, 2010

After going through a long development with Darren Aronofsky, who left the project perhaps due to close similarities with The Wrestler, The Fighter tells the real life tale of Boston boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and his rise from amateur to professional in the mid-80s. It stars Mark Wahlberg as Ward and Christian Bale as his trainer Dickie Eklund. At first things seem strong but soon personal and professional tensions arise between the two. Directorial duties now go to David O’Russell, perhaps most famous for the Gulf War satire Three Kings. It is also shaping up to be a serious awards contender, particularly for Christian Bale.

The film looks volatile both on screen and off, from the trailer the boxing scenes appear to be photographed on HD video which gives them a more raw and upfront feel. Russell is sticking to his typical style and mood, which is confrontational placing him and his film as far away as possible from comparisons with Raging Bull, a more grandly mounted boxing film in terms of how it filmed the matches. Off screen you have two personalities who are now infamous for their on set meltdowns, Russell and Bale, pairing them both together could be a recipe for disaster, but that tension could create an interesting film.

However what is most interesting is that Mark Wahlberg appears to have been given a more complex character to play with, and it could prove to be his best performance since The Departed. He is an underrated actor and when given the right material we know he can do great things, The Fighter looks to be good material for him and based on the stellar cast this could prove to be a serious awards contender. – Will Chadwick

Blue Valentine

Release Date: December 31, 2010

Blue Valentine has had people talking for almost a full year now. It was one of the most celebrated films at Sundance in January, every single screening was sold out. That kind of buzz only happens for two or three films at the festival. Once distribution rights were decided, the real press coverage started when the nasty MPAA gave the film a rare NC-17 rating. The battle has been heating up over the last few days with The Weinsteins accepting the rating, and gathering a legal team to appeal it.

With the Weinsteins willing to invest that much money in the film, you know they must have faith in it. This should be paired with what the critics are saying. The film already has a solid 87% on the ratings aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. Among those that have reviews posted, it’s promised that we will see a remarkably brutal, yet honest look at a disintegrating marriage. Praise seems to be overflowing for the performances of the two leads, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.

So while this may not seem like family holiday fun, it does seem to be the exact type of film the awards love. One that examines human drama. Which, at least for me, will be much appreciate during a season surrounded by films like TRON: Legacy, and Little Fockers. – Blake Griffin

I Love You Phillip Morris

Release Date: December 3, 2010

Mr. Jim Carey stars in this much anticipated film that has garnered a fair bit of success in Europe. Steven Jay Russell is a married police officer that gets into a horrific car accident. Once recovered, Russell is convinced that he is a gay man and wants to live his ‘real life’. He leaves his family, moves to Miami, and takes up an extravagant life as a gay man. In order to support his way of living though, Russell embarks on a life of crime, leading to an arrest and imprisonment.

It is there; Russell meets and immediately falls for Phillip Morris. Due to its explicit gay sexual content, the film had to be re-edited before a U.S. production company would agree to distribute it. That aside, it has received glowing reviews –especially for Carey, who wasn’t as constrained to meet the requirements of a very typical ‘Hollywood’ movie. The film definitely has me intrigued and this is one to keep your eye on this holiday season. – Claude Saravia

Gulliver’s Travels

Release Date: December 22, 2010

A modern-day twist on the classic book – Gulliver’s Travels. Jack Black plays Lemuel Gulliver who scams his way into a travel-writer job, only to go to the Bermuda Triangle. If you have read the book, none of this is familiar. Once in the doomed Triangle, he somehow gets transported to Lilliput, where he is held prisoner by little people about 1/12th his size.

He must then try to convince these ‘Lilliputans’ that he is the president back home and rides around Manhattan in the Millineum Falcon and therefore they should follow his instruction to prevent ‘red evil masterminds’ from taking control. Originally scheduled to come out in June, the movie got moved to Christmas time and converted to 3D. Emily Blunt, Jason Segal and Catherine Tate round out the cast. With the comedic talents of Black and Segal, this could turn out to be pretty funny. Look for Gulliver’s Travels to be some good family fun, if nothing else. – Claude Saravia

Barney’s Version

Release Date: December 24, 2010

This is the story of Barney Panofsky as told by Barney Panofsky– his version of it anyway. Finally, 12 years in the making, the film is now set to be released. The story is told through flashbacks and follows the trials and tribulations of a 65 year old hockey addict. Barney was quite the character and often made the “wrong” decisions in life, but he lived life to the fullest.

Based on the Canadian novel of the same name, Barney’s version has quite an impressive cast including Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, and Scott Speedman, with cameo appearances by David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan and Paul Gross. With an interesting cast and a release date finally arriving after 12 years in the making, this could be one to watch this holiday season. – Claude Saravia

And that just about does it. Of course there are a lot more films coming out this holiday season, but the aforementioned ones are the ones we’re looking forward to the most.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Which films are you looking forward to?