Deck the Plex
What’s playing at your local movie theatre this holiday season
by Rob Newton
Movies are about escape. For 90 minutes to 2 hours, they whisk us away from our everyday lives. And given that during this season those lives are full of juggling holiday visits to both sides of the family, trying to come up with that special gift for that special person, and remembering to get our Christmas or Chanukah cards into the mail before the actual holiday has come and gone, there is no better time than now to do just that…escape. So here’s the rundown on where you (and a tub of popcorn) can go…
In theatres 12.1.06
•The Nativity Story – Nevermind Deck The Halls and Unaccompanied Minors ~ this is a real Christmas movie, depicting the birth of Christ ~ which, conveniently, was on Christmas (unless you get all historical and can prove the hypothesis that he was probably born in the spring, after Passover).
•Turistas – A group of backpackers discover a terrifying secret when their bus breaks down in the Brazilian jungle, a secret more horrifying than the fact there is no cell service or place to recharge their iPods. Directed by John Stockwell, the man responsible for putting Jessica Alba in a bikini for the duration of the Keep remake, Into The Blue.
•Van Wilder: The Rise Of Taj – A minor character in a minor Animal House pretender from 2002 gets his own movie…and forces Fox Searchlight, the studio behind star Kal Penn’s Serious Acting Debut in The Namesake, back to the winter so viewers have a chance get the taste of this pandering follow-up out of their mouths.
In theatres 12.8.06
•Apocalypto – Considering that Mel Gibson made this challenging historical epic (about the decline of the Mayan civilization), many still speculate that the title refers to his career prospects, though filmgoers did forgive him for Bird On A Wire, so he should be back in his Braveheart stride in no time.
•Blood Diamond – Leo DiCaprio plays a South African mercenary in the rough-and-tumble African nation of Sierra Leone in the 1990s, on the trail of a legendary pink diamond when he meets fisherman Djimon Hounsou and journalist Jennifer Connolly, who change his point of view. Majestic gestures ensue. The Last Samurai helmer Edward Zwick writes and directs.
•D.O.A.: Dead Or Alive – Based on the popular video game, four female fighters (one of them Jaime Pressly of “My Name Is Earl”) square off in a battle royale. Not based on the classic noir film (or the not-so-classic remake) or any play by William Shakespeare.
•The Holiday – Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet play modern gals fed up enough with their lives to want to switch them with each other, although a lot of Winslet fans might have a problem with the idea of Diaz posing nude for Leo DiCaprio in Titanic, or with Winslet doing the “underpants dance” in Charlie’s Angels.
In theatres 12.15.06
•Eragon – The first in a promised trilogy based on Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance novels, the Tolkien-alike stars the likes of Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich in an FX heavy sword-and-sorcery epic. Just as long as it’s not four hours long…
•The Pursuit Of Happyness – It is OK to spell a word incorrectly in the title of this feel-good drama starring Will Smith as a dutiful dad keeping his young son out of abject poverty as long as critics don’t take the name of the brand in vain when they advise audiences to bring Kleenex™ to the theatre when they see it.
In theatres 12.22.06
•The Good Shepherd – Matt Damon!, Angelina Jolie and Joe Pesci star in this co-star Robert DeNiro-directed political thriller about the early days of the C.I.A. Matt Damon!
•Night At The Museum – There is only one word to describe a movie in which security guard Ben Stiller encounters a museum in which the exhibits come to life every night ~ zany! Does the fun ever stop? Oh Ben, you so crazy! (Warning: scary monkey alert!)
•Rocky Balboa – The folks who cut the trailer to this, Rocky VI, seems to find it as funny as we do that a 60-year-old Sylvester Stallone is bringing his tired old eye of the tiger out of retirement for the thrill of the fight one last time. Will it be a hit…or is the franchise finally gonna die now?
•We Are Marshall – Any guy who hasn’t cried at a sports movie since Brian’s Song should get ready for this one, a true story about the coach of the Marshall University football team (played by Matthew McConaughey) who must put a team together after most of his are killed in a plane crash. Also starring Ian McShane (“Deadwood”) and Matthew Fox (“Lost”).
In theatres 12.25.06
•Children Of Men – Based on P.D. James’s future tome in which the people of Earth have been sterile for nearly two decades, this gloomy what-if stars Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine, directed by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban director Alfonso Cuarón.
•Dreamgirls – A trio of black female R&B singers hits the big time in this drama based on the Broadway musical. The movie stars Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles and Eddie Murphy, and the producers have hopes that it will be as huge (and Oscar-awarded) as Chicago was.
Read award-winning writer Robert Newton every Thursday in Pulse Magazine’s new publication, Worcester Movies Weekly, which is also available on-line at www.WorcesterMovies.com.
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