Merry Jeffing Christmas
Bridges stars in 29 percent of these movies you should put on your holiday to-do list.
CARLOS Director Olivier Assayas made this chronicle of the career of terrorist Carlos the Jackal for television in a five-and-a-half-hour version and in a 165-minute theatrical cut. Both versions will be shown at the Music Box, so you have a decision to make. Either way, mark your calendars. Opens Dec 3.
THE COMPANY MEN John Wells, one of the people behind ER and The West Wing, makes his feature directing debut with a drama about three men who have been laid off and have to figure out what comes next. The subject matter is pretty grim, and the conventional wisdom is that we don’t want to see movies about the real troubles we are suffering through, but early buzz suggests something good, and how wrong can you go when you’ve got Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones as your leads? Opens Dec 10.
THE FIGHTER Mark Wahlberg stars as 1980s boxer “Irish” Micky Ward, who battled his way from working-class roots to the professional boxing circuit with help from his half-brother, played by Christian Bale. That may sound like cookie-cutter stuff (Rocky with a sibling angle), but it’s director David O. Russell’s involvement that has us curious. How can the same guy have directed the sharp, politically tinged Iraq comedy Three Kings and the ponderously winsome I Heart Huckabees? Can a good old-fashioned boxing picture bring out the best in him? Opens Dec 10.
THE KING’S SPEECH The advance buzz surrounding Colin Firth’s performance as Great Britain’s King George VI suggests he is likely to land an Oscar nomination for the second year in a row after his wonderful work in A Single Man. It’s the story of Prince Bertie, who assumed the throne quite unexpectedly in 1936 when his older brother, Edward VIII, abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson. Bertie suffered from a stutter, and the movie follows the efforts of an unorthodox speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) to make the king comfortable speaking in public. Opens Dec 10.
TRON: LEGACY Why should you be excited about another attempt to mine ’80s nostalgia with an update? We’re psyched because, 1) Jeff Bridges is in it, and he doesn’t do utter crap, and 2) the idea of virtual worlds, which was wild, speculative stuff in 1982, is practically everyday in 2010, so there’s a chance of something that’s fun and topical. Oh, yeah, and 3) Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde. Eye-candy for everyone! Opens Dec 17.
SOMEWHERE If you hated Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, here’s the good news: Her next film is closer to home, with a self-destructive actor (Stephen Dorff) assessing his life when his daughter (Elle Fanning) turns up on his doorstep at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont. The plot outline could signal a dog (imagine the “awww” moments as the ragamuffin finds the taste of caviar icky), but advance word says Coppola is more interested in a moody, European-style character study than the usual Hollywood cutesy stuff. Opens Dec 22.
TRUE GRIT Speaking of Jeff Bridges, we love the idea of him taking on the role of Rooster Cogburn, the cranky one-eyed marshal who agrees to help a young girl track down her father’s killers. We also love the Coen brothers, who wrote and directed this remake. And please don’t get worked up about remaking a “classic.” We watched the 1969 True Grit recently, and while it’s perfectly fine, it ain’t no classic, pilgrim. Opens Dec 22.