We’ve already covered the holiday movies that you’re sure to hear about come Oscar time, but what about the other movies hitting the screens this winter? The movies that provide you a brief escape from the throngs of holiday shoppers and the onslaught of relatives. There’s plenty of delightful diversions coming your way, let’s take a look at 10 of the most anticipated “popcorn movies” of the season.
Due Date (11/5)
Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis – a match made in comedy heaven. The pair star in Hangover director Todd Phillips‘ road trip comedy, which calls to mind another great holiday road movie, 1987′s Planes Trains and Automobiles. In Due Date, RDJ plays an architect and harried husband, trying to get from L.A. to Atlanta to witness the birth of his first child. He encounters wannabe actor Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis) on his cross country flight and, thanks to some comic circumstances, gets kicked off the plane and placed on the no fly list. Unfortunately for Downey’s character, his only option to get home is to hitch a ride with the oddball actor. Hilarity ensues, of course, with the help of a masturbating dog and Jamie Foxx. Will Robert and Zach replace Steve Martin and John Candy as our favorite squabbling travelers?
Check out the trailer for Due Date and loads more after the jump!
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Angel from Dexter and Turk from Scrubs had to save the world from aliens, this is the movie for you. Colin and Greg Strause who brought us Aliens vs Predator: Requiem try to get back into our good graces with this alien invasion thriller. What we know of the flick’s premise is this: a series of strange lights descend upon L.A., people get attracted to the beams of light and are taken up into the sky. What sounds like a beautiful sight is slightly more ominous, as this extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human race, leaving a band of intrepid Angelinos, including David Zayas and Donald Faison, to fight and save life as we know it. I don’t want to sound skeptical, but I don’t think Faison can ever turn in a performance as awesome as this one.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (11/19)
Full disclosure, I’ve never seen a Harry Potter movie or read even a page of one of the hugely popular JK Rowling books – and I think I may be the only one who hasn’t, as the films (and new theme park attraction at Universal Orlando) have legions of adoring fans. This two-part adaptation of the last of the Potter books (Part 2 hits theaters on July 15, 2011) begins with Harry and his fellow wizards on a search and destroy mission to uncover the Horcruxes, which provide Lord Voldemort his power and immortality. Despite the cinematic nuptials of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour, the film promises to be a dark affair (the word “deathly” in the title could be a hint). In addition to Daniel Radcliffe (in a bra!), Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman, the amazing Bill Nighy joins the all-star cast.
One thing I say to myself every holiday movie season is “needs more Cher.” And now, you can thank your lucky stars because the legendary diva (and Oscar winner) returns to the screen. As a massive Cher fan, this is my Christmas present from Hollywood. This razzle-dazzle drama centers on Ali (Christina Aguliera, making her feature film debut), the sterotypical small town girl looking to make it big in Hollywood. She finds herself at the Burlesque Lounge, a once great showroom owned by the plucky Tess (Cher), a former dancer herself. Ali lands a waitress gig and befriends the club’s bartender (Cam Gigandet, from the Twilight flicks) and club dancer Julianne Hough (Dancing with the Stars). Of course, Ali gets her big break and finds herself tangled up in conflict with a jealous dancer (Kristen Bell). Co-starring Stanley Tucci as the club’s manager and Alan Cumming as the androgynous emcee (sounds a lot like the exact same role he played in Cabaret on Broadway), this campy confection is the perfect holiday escape. Fun fact: director Steve Antin, star of the 80s classic The Last American Virgin, is the brother of Robin Antin, creator of the Pussycat Dolls – so at least the choreography will be interesting. Will it exceed expectations or become the third prong of the “trashy trilogy” – alongside Glitter and Showgirls?
The imagineers at Disney take on another fairy tale – this time the legend of Rapunzel and her long locks – with their latest animated effort. Singer/actress Mandy Moore lends her voice to Rapunzel, trapped in a tower and proud possessor of 70 feet of magical blonde hair (with no roots – now that’s magical!) Zachary Levi (TV’s Chuck) voices the roguish bandit Flynn Rider, who finds himself in cahoots with the feisty princess, aiding her in escape. The pair head off on an “action-packed escapade” all in eye-popping 3D.
Chronicles of Narnia – Voyage of the Dawn Treader (12/10)
After Disney ditched this fantastical franchise after the lackluster box office performance of Prince Caspian, Fox took the reins for the third installment of the series, based on the novels by C.S. Lewis. In this episode, Edmund and Lucy (Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley) return to Narnia with their cousin, Eustace (Will Poulter), onboard a ship called the Dawn Treader, where they meet with Caspian (Ben Barnes), who is now King of Narnia. Along the way, they encounter invisible monsters, dragons, magic spells and an indoor snowstorm – all great fodder for the 3D format. Tilda Swinton returns as the White Witch and Simon Pegg takes over for Eddie Izzard as the voice of the talking mouse Reepicheep.
The Tourist (12/10)
If you have trouble deciding on a film to see with your significant other, this action adventure with a touch of cheeky comedy is the solution to your cinematic conundrum – with eye candy for the guys (Angelina Jolie) and the gals (Johnny Depp), all set in an exotic location (Venice). The story revolves around an American tourist (Depp) who crosses paths with a mysterious woman (Jolie) and is embrolied in a a case of mistaken identity and is pursued by gun-wielding gangsters. Action, romance and witty banter – sounds like the perfect holiday treat!
Tron Legacy (12/17)
The eagerly-awaited (especially by this guy) sequel to Disney’s ahead-of-its-time sci-fi cult classic, Jeff Bridges returns as Kevin Flynn, the computer mastermind who is sucked into the virtual world of his own creation. In the 21st century reboot, Flynn’s son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund), searching for his long-lost father, also gets sucked into the computer-generated world of Tron. There he fights his father’s evil avatar Clu (also played by Bridges) alongside the lovely Quorra (Olivia Wilde). The Tron of 2010 is darker than the Tron of 1982 and here, Daft Punk replaces Journey on the music front. Bruce Boxleitner returns, but where is Cindy Morgan? Tsk, tsk, Disney. The trailers gave us a peek at how awesome the light cycle races and disc matches look, and this is sure to be one of the holiday’s highlights – let’s just hope it moves along at a slightly brisker pace than its predecessor!
Little Fockers (12/22)
Slapstick, a wrestling match in a ball pit, Dustin Hoffman dancing the flamenco, Viagra jokes – it’s all here! Even if you thought this focking film series jumped the shark with Meet the Fockers, Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro and all of your favorite Fockers are back! This time around, Greg Focker (Stiller) and his wife Pam (Teri Polo) are the proud parents of five-year-old twins. In an effort to make some extra cash to care for his brood, Ben takes a job with a pharmaceutical company, reigniting his father-in-law’s suspicions that male nurse Greg isn’t good enought for his little girl. The family descends on the Focker household to celebrate the twins’ birthday party and, as you can well imagine, all hell breaks loose. The gang’s all here, including Blythe Danner as De Niro’s wife, Barbra Streisand as the Focker matriarch and Owen Wilson as Pam’s still-pining ex. Joining the cast are Harvey Keitel, Laura Dern and Jessica Alba. Initially, Dustin Hoffman passed on reprising his role as Bernie Focker, but finally gave into the producers’ requests when some reshoots were needed. Not a good sign, right? You make the call!
Gulliver’s Travels (12/22)
Lending a contemporary flavor to this adaptation of the Jonathan Swift classic, Jack Black plays the title character, a travel writer who, while working on a story about the Bermuda Triangle, finds himself washed ashore on the island of Lilliput, where he literally towers over the island’s citizens. Even though Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Billy Connolly and Romany Malco are on the cast list, it’s unsure whether or not the general public is over Jack Black and his shenanigans.