Going to the movies on Christmas is a tradition that’s almost as time-honored as kissing under the mistletoe. Also, the kids are on break and it’s cold, so it’s easy to ship them off to the multiplex. Here is our handy guide to what’s in theaters over the holiday vacation:
For (Almost) the Whole Family
You must have heard the hype by now: James Cameron’s decade-plus follow-up to Titanic, and its successor as one of the most expensive movies ever made, is hailed as a cinematic game-changer employing an army of movie-making wizards from special-effects technicians to linguistic gurus. Personally, I think the blue creatures look pretty neat. (It’s PG-13, so it might not be suitable for the littlest ones if you’re sensitive to that.)
Note: Avatar is probably worth seeing in IMAX, but remember that New Roc City and the Palisades Center are the only two theaters near us (along with a couple in New York City) that have real IMAX screens.
For the Littlest Ones
The Princess and the Frog
You didn’t think we’d leave out the kiddies, would you? Disney’s return to 2D princess pictures recalls the big animated features of a decade ago. The New Orleans backdrop is also a good excuse for some swinging, up-tempo musical numbers.
For the Teens
Sherlock Holmes or The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Both movies have stylish directors (Guy Richie for Sherlock Holmes and Terry Gilliam for Imaginarium) who promise to thrill. In Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey, Jr.—who’s certainly been on a hot streak lately—plays a faithful-to-the-book version of Holmes with Jude Law as his ever-loyal Watson. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus—which will forever be known as Heath Ledger’s last performance—also has Jude Law, along with Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell, picking up the role where Ledger left off. It works because the movie is a total, delicious fantasy that takes Ledger’s character through the looking glass—literally—to show him the Alice in Wonderland-like world of his own imagination.
Director Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, Something’s Gotta Give) is nothing if not adult, and her story about people of a certain age learning to deal with divorces and dating stars Baby Boomers Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, and Alec Baldwin.
For the Men
Sports, history, politics, and Clint Eastwood—this film, in which Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mandela and encourages the South African rugby team to bring home the World Cup, has everything a man can ask for.
For the Ladies
The Young Victoria
Sure, it has all the girlish pleasures of a period melodrama—fabulous costumes, British suitors—but also the girl-power story of a young queen who learns how to manage her court and figure out who to trust.
For Music Lovers
Nine and Crazy Heart
What’s your poison? If the let’s-put-on-a-show musical tunes are your faves, see Nine, in which director Rob Marshall hopes to follow up his Chicago success with another stage-to-screen adaptation—this one starring a singing Daniel Day-Lewis along with Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, and Nicole Kidman. If you prefer music you can set your cowboy boots to, Jeff Bridges stars as a past-his-prime country singer in Crazy Heart, and a young journalist played by Maggie Gyllenhaal falls for him as she tries to tell his story.
For Oscar-Watchers and Those Who Swoon Over Clooney
Up in the Air
George Clooney faces off with newcomer Anna Kendrick in this film about downsizing, restructuring, automating, and going digital (not that we can relate). Juno‘s Jason Reitman directs, and the awards buzz around this darkly funny picture is almost deafening.
For Die-Hard Lit Fans
The Lovely Bones
Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel has only gotten middling reviews, but if you’re a huge fan of the book it might be fun to see Jackson’s take on “the in-between.” Plus, it co-stars our neighbor Stanley Tucci.
What are you looking forward to seeing this holiday break? Let us know in the comments.
Princess Tiana ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Sherlock Holmes photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures