Holiday Movie Preview: The Most Anticipated Upcoming Films

  • Publish Date: November 8, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 18 user comments

Friday, November 19

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Reluctant to let a good thing end so soon, Warner Bros. has split the final book in the Harry Potter series into two separate movies (Part II will arrive in the summer of 2011), while returning the director (David Yates) and writer (Steve Kloves) from the well-received sixth installment. Unlike in previous films, the action here takes place away from Hogwarts, as Harry, Ron, and Hermione go on a road trip of sorts as they seek out the source of Voldemort’s power.

Also out this week

The Next Three Days is writer-director Paul Haggis' remake of the French thriller Anything for Her, and it finds Russell Crowe willing to do anything to break his wife (Elizabeth Banks) out of prison after she is accused of murder ... The true story of a 1968 female workers strike at a Ford car plant, the UK drama Made in Dagenham (LIMITED) stars Sally Hawkins and Bob Hoskins ... Starring and co-written by The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi, Today's Special (LIMITED) follows an aspiring New York chef who must take over his family's Indian restaurant.

Wednesday, November 24


Pop star Christina Aguilera stars as a small-town girl who tries to make a name for herself at a Los Angeles burlesque club in a musical inspired by (but not based upon) Cabaret. Kristen Bell, Alan Cumming and Cher (in her first film role in seven years) also star, with original music by Sia and an uncredited rewrite by Diablo Cody. Heard enough yet?

Love and Other Drugs

A corporate dramedy set in the pharmaceutical industry (more specifically, the male-performance-enhancement-drug industry) during the 1990s, Love and Other Drugs stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. It marks the first comedy for director Edward Zwick since 1986’s About Last Night….


Disney's animated musical take on the Rapunzel fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm features the voices of Mandy Moore and Ron Perlman and a 1960s rock-inspired score from composer Alan Menken.

Also out this week

Faster is CBS Films' first attempt at action, with Dwayne Johnson starring as a revenge-seeking ex-con ... The Nutcracker (LIMITED) presents the classic holiday musical tale in 3D.

Friday, November 26

The King's Speech Limited Release

A hit on this fall's film festival circuit, Tom Hooper's period dramedy follows the future King George VI, who must overcome his stuttering problem with the help of a speech therapist when his brother Edward abdicates the English throne. The top-notch cast includes Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce.

Friday, December 3

Black Swan Limited Release

Darren Aronofsky's intense psychological thriller set in the highly competitive world of New York City ballet has been mentioned as an Oscar contender, though the bleak and unconventional film may have trouble winning over broader audiences. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis star.

I Love You Phillip Morris

Based on a true story, this dark comedy from the writers of Bad Santa stars Jim Carrey as father, husband and con man Steven Jay Russell, who falls in love with his male cellmate Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor) after he is imprisoned. After Morris is released, Russell escapes from prison -- four times -- in order to be with him again. The film was extremely well received at Sundance last year, but its subject matter scared away potential distributors over the past year.

Also out this week

An Asian assassin hides out in a small American desert town in The Warrior's Way ... Based on a true story, Andrew Jarecki's All Good Things (LIMITED) is a 1980s New York murder mystery starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst ... An Alzheimer's patient recollects his life in Barney's Version (LIMITED) which will get an Oscar-qualifying run before returning to theaters in January; the film stars Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman and MInnie Driver ... The latest drama from Julian Schnabel, Miral (LIMITED) centers on a young Palestinian woman and activist ... A man revisits the roots of the Black Power movement in the Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up in Night Catches Us (LIMITED) ... Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (LIMITED) is a twisted Finnish take on the Santa Claus story.

Friday, December 10

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

After Disney decided to cancel production on the remaining five movies based on C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series, Fox picked up the rights to this third installment, an adventure at sea taken from perhaps the best book in the collection. Michael Apted is the new director.

The Company Men Limited Release

Noted TV writer-producer John Wells (ER, The West Wing) makes his feature directorial debut with this timely drama about the impact of corporate downsizing told from multiple perspectives -- including those of an executive (Tommy Lee Jones), a newly-unemployed worker (Ben Affleck), and the drywall installer who gives him a new job (Kevin Costner).

The Fighter Limited Release

Seemingly David O. Russell's most accessible film to date, The Fighter finds the director re-teaming with his Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees star Mark Wahlberg in a drama about boxer "Irish" Micky Ward. Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo also star.

The Tourist

An American tourist (Johnny Depp) is drawn into a dangerous adventure after meeting a stranger (Angelina Jolie) in Italy in this remake of the French thriller Anthony Zimmer. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others) directs from a script he co-wrote with Julian Fellowes and Christopher McQuarrie.

Also out this week

The Tempest (LIMITED) is Julie Taymor's take on the Shakespeare comedy, with Helen Mirren starring in the usually male role of Prospero ... And Everything Is Going Fine (LIMITED) is director Steven Soderbergh's documentary about the life of his friend and occasional collaborator, the late monologist Spalding Gray ... Based on a posthumous novel by Ernest Hemingway, Hemingway's Garden of Eden (LIMITED) centers on an erotic love triangle involving a newly-married couple and a woman they meet while traveling through Europe.

Friday, December 17

Casino Jack Limited Release; Expands Dec. 22

Already the subject of an Alex Gibney documentary released earlier this year, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff now finds himself being portrayed by Kevin Spacey in this fictionalized account of his rise and fall. It is the final film directed by the late George Hickenlooper.

How Do You Know

The first film from writer-director James L. Brooks in a decade, this romantic comedy traces a love triangle between a professional softball player (Reese Witherspoon), a self-centered baseball player (Owen Wilson), and a corporate executive (Paul Rudd); Jack Nicholson co-stars.

Rabbit Hole Limited Release; Expands Dec. 22

Adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire from his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play, this potential Oscar nominee focuses on a couple (Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart) fighting to save their marriage after the death of their 4-year-old son in an auto accident. John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) directs.

Tron: Legacy

It wasn't a hit, and it wasn't a great movie, but 1982's Tron earned a deserved cult following for its distinctive visual design and its videogame-centric sci-fi story. Twenty-eight years later, at a time when many of us really do seem to be trapped inside videogames, its 3D sequel is one of the most-anticipated movies of the season. Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner return from the first film, joined by Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde, while electronica duo Daft Punk provides the score.

Also out this week

The first feature film based on the hit Hanna-Barbera cartoon series in 46 years, Yogi Bear blends 3D live action and animation and features the voices of Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake.

Wednesday, December 22

Little Fockers

The third in this growing and unlikely comedy franchise starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro, Little Fockers -- which revolves around Stiller’s character being a parent of twins -- follows 2004’s poorly-reviewed Meet the Fockers and 2000’s better Meet the Parents. Owen Wilson, Jessica Alba and Barbra Streisand also star, while director Paul Weitz (American Pie) takes over for Jay Roach.

Somewhere Limited Release

The fourth feature from Sofia Coppola is, like her second (Lost in Translation), a dramedy set mostly within the confines of a landmark hotel. This time, the hotel in question is Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont, and the action (such as it is) revolves around hotel resident Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), a bad-boy actor who receives an unexpected visit from his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning).

True Grit

What could a remake of an old John Wayne western have to offer? Two words: Coen Brothers. In their fresh take on the 1968 novel that inspired the earlier film, newcomer Hailee Steinfeld stars as a 14-year-old girl who enlists an alcoholic U.S. marshal (Jeff Bridges) to help her avenge her father's murder. Matt Damon and Josh Brolin also star.

Also out this week

Jack Black is a giant on an island of tiny people in this modern-day retelling of Jonathan Swift's classic story Gulliver's Travels ... Country Strong (LIMITED; OPENS WIDE JAN. 7), like last year's Crazy Heart, is a music-filled drama centering on a washed-up country singer; this time, the singer is a woman, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, and real-life country star Tim McGraw co-stars..

Wednesday, December 29

Biutiful Limited Release

While Alejandro González Iñárritu's bleak, Spanish-language drama may not get a nomination itself, Javier Bardem's performance in the film is so strong that the film's Toronto International Film Festival screening merely confirmed what audiences at Cannes already knew: Bardem will almost certainly be an Oscar nominee this year for his portrayal of a dying single father who is also a career criminal.

Friday, December 31

Blue Valentine Limited Release

Currently saddled with an unfortunate NC-17 rating, Derek Cianfrance's raw drama (a hit at this year's Sundance) traces the disintegration of a marriage while intercutting scenes from happier times at the beginning of their relationship. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star; indie rockers Grizzly Bear provide the score.

Also out this week

Mike Leigh's Another Year (LIMITED) depicts a full year in the lives of a middle-class London couple (Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen) and their friends.

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Comments (18)

  • Robert  

    nate: The good action movies are Tron and Narnia. And for the record, Max Payne was based on a video game and so it was naturally doomed and is the worst example you should give for proving one's acting they only picked him because he looks just like the game character. Also for the record, Tron is NOT a remake, it's a sequel.

  • Anon  


    Seriously is all that pops into my head after seeing this junk.. Trying to get the kid/family audience is understating it...

  • DC  

    Who in the hell comprised this list? I'm a hge film buff and haven't heard of half these flicks. And where is Green Lantern???

  • TCP  

    Could you expand on what type of foreign films you prefer to Hollywood ones?

  • TCP  

    True Grit is looking super fabulous! The Coen Brothers never dissapoint, and that seems to be true after looking at the trailer for True Grit!

  • Slim934  

    Hopefully True Grit turns out better than No Country for Old Men.

    I don't give a crap what anybody says. That movie sucked. I can remember the lights coming up and the credits ending, with atleast half the audience with the "that's the ending? That **** sucked" look on their face. They were right to have that look.

    Don't f*ck up True Grit coens.

  • J  

    Bad lineup overall. This is a prime example of why I gave up on Hollywood trash years ago. I guess I'll be looking into more foreign movies for my source of entertainment as usual.

  • nate  

    Wow the worst holiday season for movies in a long time. A gay Jim Carrey looks like the best movie. Or it could be one of the remakes Tron or True Grit. Where are the good comedies, horror, or action movies? Cmon old geeser Jeff Bridges is the best action hero of the season? He's the big lebowski a useless pothead not a action hero. Lookng forward to seeing none of theese in theaters. Not wasting 10-15 bucks on garbage. And Mark Walberg sucks to set the record straight. Go watch Max Payne he's just awful.

  • Adam  

    Hopefully with Harry Potter something actually happens in it. The first four films were excellent, they were trying to solve some sort of mystery or Harry leaning something about himself or his family. The last two, not so much. Besides the stuff with the Ministry trying to take over Hogwarts(The 5th movie) or Harry and Co. falling in love(6th movie) what the hell happened that made people like them so much?

  • troy  

    wow the title of this should have been 1 great movie and 19 others coming out some time this year. Anyway THE FIGHTER looks to be head and shoulders above the rest.

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