The busy holiday season is here, which means you have shopping to do, dinners to prepare and in-laws to avoid. Somewhere in there, the studios hope, you’ll find time to see a movie.
Which to choose?
Fox is hoping it will be “Avatar” (opening Dec. 18), the sci-fi adventure from James Cameron with a reportedly humongous budget of $500 million. It’s already the most-talked-about film of the year, though whether it will connect with audiences remains to be seen. Its star, Sam Worthington, is a relative unknown, and its reliance on computer-animated actors could be a liability rather than a draw — just ask Robert Zemeckis, who replaced humans with pixels in “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” and “Beowulf,” both box-office disappointments.
That means there’s room for competition. Also on Dec. 18 comes “Nine,” a musical from director Rob Marshall (of the Oscar-winning “Chicago”) with an A-list cast that includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz. On Christmas, Warner Bros. will unleash “Sherlock Holmes” with Robert Downey Jr. sexing up the fusty fictional sleuth. And Fox will go up against itself Dec. 23 by releasing “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel” five days after “Avatar.”
For more serious-minded filmgoers, the studios are also rolling out several movies based on novels, including Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalypse drama “The Road,” Walter Kirn’s semicomedic “Up in the Air” (Dec. 4) and Alice Sebold’s thriller “The Lovely Bones” (Dec. 11). Even long-dead writers Christopher Isherwood and Tennessee Williams have new movies coming out.
In case you find a few spare hours this season, here’s a list of major movies to choose from through January.