Winter Movie Preview: December

Here we are again! The holidays grow closer and with it comes several major film releases! Already we’ve had several animated family films, a Twilight, plus Scorsese’s Hugo. Let us know in the comments what you’ve seen so far and your thoughts! In the meantime, December is upon us, so let’s look at some of the releases we can expect this month – just in time for Christmas! Things start off gradually, as always, with films like New Year’s Eve, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Sitter, and Young Adult all meant to keep us satisfied until the big guys show up.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (16 December) – I never saw the second one, but it was successful enough to complete the trilogy. My guess: expect much the same story except set in a different location. In fact, this sort of draws comparisons to Happy Feet Two – animated family films more about getting the kids dancing and singing along then they are being coherent or…good? Maybe too harsh of a word. Basically, the chipmunks and Chipettes are on a cruise with Dave when hijackers cause it to crash on an island. Expect lots of singing. Some songs I think work well in the high-pitch of the chipmunks. Others not so much. Same cast and voice cast, so if you (or your kids) enjoyed the first two you will probably get your money’s worth.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (16 December; 21 December [WIDE]) – Some people are tired of Tom Cruise, but I remain a fan of him and the Mission Impossible series, so I’m fairly excited for this one. Ethan Hunt and his team are blamed for a bombing of the Kremlin and forced to work outside of IMF or else be charged as terrorists. Jeremy Renner joins the team as the mysterious Brandt along with the rest of the gang from JJ Abrams’ third MI film. A few things about this film: 1) it’s director Brad Bird’s first live action. How do you mean? Well, he directed The Incredibles. Yep, an awesome Pixar movie, but is animation to live action a jump? We’ll find out. 2) JJ Abrams is still writing and producing, so it’s nice that his presence will still be felt. 3) Several scenes were shot using IMAX cameras, meaning we’ll get the same IMAX authenticity as we did with The Dark Knight‘s IMAX scenes. 4) Speaking of Batman, it’s rumored that the six-minute prologue for The Dark Knight Rises will be attached to IMAX screenings (only 70mm IMAX screens; call your local theater to find out whether yours is digital). Um…when do midnight tickets go on sale? No 3D here, but IMAX will be the way to go with the fourth Mission Impossible film.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (21 December) – This one probably doesn’t need much introduction, especially from us. Robert Downey Jr., with Jude Law as Dr. Watson and is this time joined by Stephen Fry playing Mycroft Holmes and Noomi Rapace as the love interest as they chase after Professor Moriarty. This film should be good, and Warner Bros. is expecting it to be as big a hit as the first. Director Guy Ritchie dropped his adaptation of Lobo and Downey, Jr dropped out of Cowboys & Aliens (perhaps a good thing) so that it could be completed as quickly as possible. This is good for wanting our craving for Holmes satisfied, but hopefully it doesn’t reflect poorly upon the quality of the script. We’ll find out soon enough. And, as an added bonus, expectations holds for a new theatrical trailer for The Dark Knight Rises to be attached. All the more reason! It opens only in regular 2D theaters…ah…good ‘ole 2D films.

The Adventures of TinTin (21 December) – We’ve already talked about this film and everything weighing down upon it in an analysis of its trailer along with a critique of its artistic criticism. Well, we’re almost ready to see whether it will live up to all its hype and expectations. For fans of the Hergé comics, the film is a merging of The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, and Red Rackham’s Treasure. From the creative forces of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, it stares Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Daniel Craig – the cast alone makes me want to see the film, honestly. It’s also performed stellar in foreign markets, grossing close to $200 million (as has always been expected), so we’ll see how American audiences react. It opens in regular, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters (for best viewing, go IMAX 3D).

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (21 December) – This is another film most have heard of, if anything because almost everyone has seen the novels at the front of bookstores or, if you’re truly adventurous, watched the Swedish version on Netflix Instant Streaming (it’s good, but only if you can handle subtitles and are not squeamish). The American version (not a remake, but a direct adaptation of the novel) is from David Fincher straight off of The Social Network, featuring Daniel Craig and newbie Rooney Mara as the protagonist Lisbeth Salander. This story is intense, seriously. It’s hardcore in language, violence, sexuality, themes, and so on. It’s a dark film. I’ve little doubt about it being well made, but what I do wonder is how well American audiences will take to a story that’s so not-Hollywood. What is for certain is that we can expect the same hyper-creative artistic stylings known of Fincher and, musically, Trent Reznor. Just watch the trailer for proof:

There you have it. Five major films all releasing within a week or so of Christmas, so this holiday season is packed. I plan to see four of these five in theaters (guess the one I’ll skip), with as many of them being midnight IMAX premieres as I’m allowed. Still, which one do I most look forward to? That’s a really hard question, but right now I have to say Mission Impossible mainly due to the Batman rumors. Before, I probably would’ve said Sherlock Holmes. Or maybe TinTin. It’s too hard to decide! What are you excited to see in December? Did I leave something awesome off the list? As always, look for reviews on these major releases the weekend they open, right here on the front page!

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