Once again it’s time to put the turkey in the oven, loosen our belts and plan our weekly trips to the multiplex. Its holiday time and the studios are pulling out some of the big guns to keep you entertained. Once again, MediaMikes is pleased to preview some of the films you can look forward to seeing in the next two months. As always, opening dates are subject to change at the studio’s whim.
It’s a battle of great minds when Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Fassbender) duel over a disturbed patient (Knightley). Cronenberg and Mortensen have teamed up twice and produced some great films (“A History of Violence” and “Eastern Promises”). I’m expecting a hat trick here.
OSCAR CHANCES: Mortensen earned a Best Actor nod for “Eastern Promises” and Fassbender is coming off a career making performance in “X-men: First Class.”
Starring the voices of: James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy
Directed by: Sarah Smith
When Santa Claus accidentally misses one child on his rounds his youngest son, Arthur, attempts to correct the problem.
OSCAR CHANCES: Don’t see it on the short list for Best Animated Feature.
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo and John Goodman
Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius
In the 1920s an actor (Dujardin) falls for an upcoming actress (Bejo). This film is silent and was nominated for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Dujardin was named Best Actor.
OSCAR CHANCES: The last silent film to win an Oscar was the first, “Wings.” Look for that to change soon.
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Mortez and Christopher Lee
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
In 1930’s Paris, a young boy who lives in the train station hopes to unravel a secret involving his late father and an automatron. Scorsese plus 3D? Can’t wait.
OSCAR CHANCES: With a director like Scorsese you can’t count this film out.
Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper
Directed by: James Bobin
A fan of the felt covered group (Segel, who also wrote the screenplay) tries to reunite the Muppets in an attempt to stop a greedy oil tycoon (Cooper) from buying and demolishing their old theatre. Some of the original Muppet performers, including Frank Oz, declined to work on this film. But Segel has been a lifelong fan and I don’t think he’d do anything to harm the franchise. Director Tobin is making his feature film debut after having helmed many episodes of “Da Ali G Show” and “Flight of the Conchords.”
OSCAR CHANCES: To quote Johnny Carson while addressing Miss Piggy, the only Oscar award she’d ever win would be from Oscar Meyer.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
Starring: Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Redmayne
Directed by: Simon Curtis
A young man working on his first film is assigned to look after Marilyn Monroe.
Williams totally immerses herself in the role as does Branagh, who co-stars as Laurence Olivier.
OSCAR CHANCES: A possible nod to Williams for Best Actress.
Starring: Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler
Directed by: Ralph Fiennes
Fiennes makes his directorial debut with a modern-day retelling of the Shakespearean story of a Roman war hero who loses his power and must eam up with his enemy to lead an attack on those who betrayed him.
OSCAR CHANCES: Fiennes could be a double threat.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan and James Badge Dale
Directed by: Steve McQueen
A sex addicted man (Fassbender) has to come to terms with who he is when his younger sister comes for a visit. The film has been rated NC-17 so you may be hard pressed finding it. Director McQueen is English and no relation to the late actor.
OSCAR CHANCES: NC-17 means not a lot of theatres will be playing it so unless everyone in Hollywood gets a screener it doesn’t appear likely.
I MELT WITH YOU
Starring: Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe and Jeremy Piven
Directed by: Mark Pellington
When four friends from college have a reunion they are reminded of an old pact they once made with each other.
OSCAR CHANCES: Mmmmmmmmmm NO.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Starring: Lea Michelle, Jon Bon Jovi and Halle Berry
Directed by: Garry Marshall
OSCAR CHANCES: Nada.
Starring: Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor and Sam Rockwell
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Hill stars as a college student on suspension who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door. Foolishly, he takes the kiddies with him to New York City. For fans of Hill, this is the last “chubby” film you’ll be seeing him in. If you’ve seen his video game commercial or the trailer for “21 Jump Street” you’ll notice he’s dropped some serious poundage.
OSCAR CHANCES: Unless they give them for weight loss, no.
TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY
Starring: Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy and Colin Firth
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Retired from Britain’s MI6, George Smiley (Oldman) embarks on a mission to expose a mole in the organization. Oldman takes over the role played by Sir Alec Guinness in the 1979 film.
OSCAR CHANCES: Oldman is always worth watching.
Starring: James D’Arcy and Abbie Cornish
Directed by: Madonna
Madonna directs this romantic drama focusing on the affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson as well as a contemporary romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard. Madge also wrote the screenplay with her “Truth or Dare” collaborator Alex Keshishian.
OSCAR CHANCES: Judging from the early reviews I’d have to say no. However, there’s always the Golden Raspberry awards.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly and Ezra Miller
Directed by: Lynne Ramsay
When her teenage son (Miller) goes on a killing spree at school, his mother (Swinton) must deal with her grief and her feelings of responsibility.
OSCAR CHANCES: Strong subject matter, which the Academy likes.
Starring: Peter Facinelli, Jaimie Alexander and Michael Madsen
Directed by: Michael Corrente
A New York City pickpocket learns he has a child from a long ago romance. Star Facinelli also wrote the screenplay.
OSCAR CHANCES: None
On a luxury cruise the boys and their Chipettes find themselves marooned on a not-so deserted island. Director Mitchell helmed the last “Shrek” film.
OSCAR CHANCES: Director Mitchell also helmed “Duece Bigalow: Male Gigolo.”
Starring: Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly
Directed by: Roman Polanski
The parents of two school boys, one family upscale the other middle class, meet to discuss their son’s schoolyard fights.
OSCAR CHANCES: Hell Yes! With the exception of Reilly, who was nominated for “Chicago,” everyone I’ve mentioned above has at least one Oscar on their mantle.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton
Directed by: Brad Bird
After the IMF has been disavowed by the government, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) leads a new group of agents to investigate a bombing of the Kremlin. Director Bird tries his hand with live action after having directed the animated masterpieces “The Iron Giant” and “The Incredibles.”
OSCAR CHANCES: Possibly in the technical areas.
SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law and Jared Harris
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Holmes does battle against his greatest nemesis, Professor Moriarty. Also stars the original “Girl in the Dragon Tattoo,” Noomi Rapace.
OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects.
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
Starring the voices of: Jamie Bell and Daniel Craig.
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Master Spielberg tries his hand at motion-capture animation, throwing in a little 3D for good measure. There are over 20 “TinTin” classic comics so if this is a hit I’d expect more.
OSCAR CHANCES: Since the Academy ruled recently that motion capture films don’t qualify for the Animated award, unless John Williams’ score gets a nod I’d say no.
Starring: Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson
Directed by: Rodrigo Garcia
In order to make a living in 19th century Ireland, a woman disguises herself as a man. Thirty years later she is still living a lie.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Starring: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig and Stellan Skarsgard
Directed by: David Fincher
The director of “The Social Network” and “Fight Club” takes on one of the most popular novel series in history. He’s also taking on the audiences pre-conceived ideas as to how the story will unfold.
OSCAR CHANCES: I haven’t read the books or seen the previous films. The trailer has had me excited for quite awhile. I’m saying at least two nominations. Do I hear three?
IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY
Starring: Zana Marjanovic and Goran Kostic
Directed by: Angelina Jolie
Two people fall in love during the 1990s civil war in Bosnia. Not only is Jolie making her directorial debut she also wrote the script.
OSCAR CHANCES: None to speak of.
WE BOUGHT A ZOO
Starring: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johannson and Thomas Haden Church
Directed by: Cameron Crowe
A widower decides to purchase a run-down zoo and move his family to run it. Good news: from the director of “Jerry Maguire” and “Almost Famous.” Bad news: from the director of “Elizabethtown.”
OSCAR CHANCES: Good pedigree but unusual subject.
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
Starring: Tom Hanks and Thomas Horn
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
After his father is killed on 9/11 a young boy finds a mysterious key and must find out where it goes.
OSCAR CHANCES: NEVER bet against Tom Hanks or Stephen Daldry.
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson and David Thewlis
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
An adaptation of the children’s novel and the currently running Broadway show, the story revolves around a farm horse sent into battle during World War I and the young boy who tries to get him back.
Starring: Adepero Oduye and Kim Wayans
Directed by: Dee Rees
A Brooklyn teenager must deal with disappointing friends and family when she attempts to embrace her lesbian identity.
OSCAR CHANCES: This film has been raved about since it premiered at Sundance earlier this year. It could be this year’s “Precious.”
Starring: Thomas Dekker, Mira Sorvino and Lynn Collins
Directed by: Gaby Dellal
A small town father tries to care for his young son and alcoholic wife. Tragedy strikes when the young boy disappears in a snow storm.
OSCAR CHANCES: Maybe
THE IRON LADY
Starring: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent and Richard E. Grant
Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd
A look at Margaret Thatcher, the former English prime minister.
OSCAR CHANCES: Streep holds the record with 16 previous acting nominations (two Oscars). Can number 17 be far behind?
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