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HOLIDAY MOVIE PREVIEW Big box-office offerings wrap up the season



Published: Fri, October 30, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Roger Moore

Here’s a look at the films headed to a cinema near you in November and December.

Nov. 6

ÓÅ® “The Box” (Warner Bros.) A dark fantasy about a family (Cameron Diaz, James Marsden) who receive a magical box, an offer of $1 million from Frank Langella — and the promise that pushing a button to ensure that $1 million will kill someone they do not know.

“Disney’s A Christmas Carol” ( Walt Disney) Robert Zemeckis made this performance-capture (The Polar Express) version of the Dickens holiday classic, with digital versions of Gary Oldman, Robin Wright Penn, Colin Firth and Jim Carrey, who plays several roles, starting with Scrooge.

“The Fourth Kind” (Universal) As in “Close Encounters of the...” Milla Jovovich stars in this thriller about a therapist who notices startling similarities among victims of alleged alien abductions.

“Men Who Stare at Goats” (Overture) Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges star in this film based on Jon Ronson’s satiric novel about a reporter who stumbles across a soldier who claims to be a veteran of a U.S. Army paranormal battalion.

“Pirate Radio” (Universal) Philip Seymour Hoffman and Bill Nighy are among the stars of this Richard Curtis comedy about offshore rock radio in the UK in the ’70s.

Nov. 13

ÓÅ® “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” (Fox) An animated Wes Anderson film based on a Roald Dahl story? We’re intrigued. It’s about farm folk who tire of the wily fox in their midst (voiced by George Clooney) and resolve to wipe out him and his kind.

“2012” (Sony) Roland Emmerich’s latest end-of-the-world spectacle concerns the confluence of disasters that some folks figure accompany the expiration date on the ancient Mayan calendar.

Nov. 20

“The Blind Side” (Warner Bros.) A homeless kid is recruited to a college football power in this drama based on the Michael Lewis book. Quentin Aaron, Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and Kathy Bates are the stars of the John Lee Hancock film.

ÓÅ® “Twilight: New Moon” (Summit) The sequel to “Twilight” has fetching young Bella recovering from a vampire attack, and cozying up to the cuter vampires.

ÓÅ® “Planet 51” (Sony Animation) Dwayne Johnson voices the astronaut who visits a strange planet that lives in fear of alien invasion in this cartoon.

Nov. 25

“Ninja Assassin” (Warner Bros.) Rick Yune and Rain face off in this tale of dueling ninja murderers for hire, the Interpol agent (Naomi Harris) on their trail.

“Old Dogs” (Walt Disney) Robin Williams and John Travolta play kid-averse bachelors charged with caring for 6-year-old twins. From the director of “Wild Hogs,” if that tells you anything.

Dec. 4

“Brothers” (Lionsgate) Tobey Maguire is a soldier gone missing and presumed dead in Afghanistan, Jake Gyllenhaal the brother who looks after his “widow” (Natalie Portman) in this Jim Sheridan drama.

Dec. 11

“Invictus” (Warner Bros.) Clint Eastwood’s latest directing job is a Morgan Freeman/Matt Damon bio-drama about Nelson Mandela’s efforts to unite his country through rugby.

Dec. 18

“Avatar” (Fox) James Cameron’s years-in-the-making 3D-motion-capture animated thriller is about humans battling aliens on a distant planet. The film features the digital proxies for actors Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver, among others.

“Did You Hear About the Morgans?” (Columbia/Sony) Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker team up for this fish-out-of-water comedy about a high-powered New York couple who witness a mob murder and are relocated to rural Wyoming.

Dec. 25

“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel” (Fox) More tunes and sight gags from those rockin’, rappin’ rodents, the Chipmunks.

“The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney) Disney’s return to classical (non-computer-rendered) animation is an updating of the fable set in 19th-century New Orleans. Oprah and John Goodman are among the voice actors.

“Nine” (The Weinstein Co.) Rob Marshall’s all-star adaptation of the musical based on Fellini’s film “81‚Ñ2,” stars Daniel Day-Lewis as the filmmaker who tries to reconcile his artistic life with his many lady loves.

“The Lovely Bones” (Dreamworks) Saoirse Ronan plays a young murdered girl who watches over her family (Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg) from heaven, and plots her revenge, in this Peter Jackson horror fantasy.

ÓÅ® “Sherlock Holmes” (Warner Bros.) Robert Downey Jr. and that box-office kiss of death, Jude Law, star in this version of Holmes’ detective adventures. Guy Ritchie directed it.

“Up in the Air” (Paramount) George Clooney is a corporate downsizing expert who has racked up the frequent flyer miles but whose success is threatened when he meets a fellow frequent flyer, the woman of his dreams (Vera Farmiga), in this Jason Reitman comedy.


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