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Archive for Sunday, November 25, 2007

Niccum: New films geared for holiday crowds

November 25, 2007

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Bands quit touring. Live theater goes into hibernation. Nothing new crops up at galleries.

Face it: The arts and entertainment scene in Lawrence practically shuts down around the holidays ... except at the movie theaters. That's when some of Hollywood's biggest projects are unveiled in hopes of attracting audiences and year-end awards in equal measure.

Friday

Teeth

A Special Jury Prize winner at this year's Sundance Film Festival, "Teeth" involves a high school student (Jess Weixler) who discovers she has a physical advantage when it comes to predatory male relationships. Namely, a set of teeth in her "vajayjay." It's the rare cinematic blend of comedy, horror and feminism.

Awake

Darth Vader interpreter Hayden Christensen portrays a man who experiences "anesthetic awareness" during his open-heart surgery. This leaves him awake but paralyzed, and unable to aid his distressed wife (Jessica Alba) as she must make life-altering decisions.

DEC. 7

Nicole Kidman is among the stars of "The Golden Compass," which is projected to be the big fantasy blockbuster of the holiday season. It opens nationally Dec. 7.

Nicole Kidman is among the stars of "The Golden Compass," which is projected to be the big fantasy blockbuster of the holiday season. It opens nationally Dec. 7.

The Golden Compass

With a $150 million price tag, this Narnia-like film is poised to be the big fantasy blockbuster of the holidays. Newcomer Dakota Blue Richards stars as a young Oxford resident who discovers a microscopic particle that leads her on a dimension-jumping odyssey.

Grace is Gone

John Cusack stars and produces the tale of a father who takes his two girls on a road trip to Florida in the hope of finding a way to tell them their mother has been killed while serving in Iraq.

DEC. 14

Alvin and the Chipmunks

It's not exactly "Almost Famous," but Jason Lee returns to the onscreen music biz as a manager of three singing chipmunks - mischievous Alvin, gentle Simon and impressionable Theodore. Wasn't Lee also in "Underdog"?

"I Am Legend" opens nationally Dec. 14 with star Will Smith.

"I Am Legend" opens nationally Dec. 14 with star Will Smith.

I Am Legend

Actors Vincent Price and Charlton Heston have previously headlined adaptations of Richard Matheson's "last man on earth" novel. This time Will Smith plays scientist Robert Neville, who finds himself the lone human survivor in a New York City overrun by zombified plague victims.

The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini's best-seller makes it to the screen with Marc Forster ("Finding Neverland") at the helm. The tale concerns a man who returns to his native Afghanistan to find his childhood best friend, whom he has not seen since the Soviet invasion.

DEC. 21

Jenna Fischer and John C. Reilly star in "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story." The film is a parody of musical biopics such as "Walk the Line" and "Ray." It opens nationally Dec. 21.

Jenna Fischer and John C. Reilly star in "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story." The film is a parody of musical biopics such as "Walk the Line" and "Ray." It opens nationally Dec. 21.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

With musical biopics such as "Walk the Line" and "Ray" garnering major Oscars, it's about time the genre was given a straight-up parody. John C. Reilly takes center stage as the promiscuous, drug-addicted, chimp-befriending entertainer.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

It's been three years since treasure hunter Nicolas Cage stole the Declaration of Independence en route to unfathomable treasure. Now he's back on a conspiracy-oriented quest involving John Wilkes Booth's diary and the sitting U.S. president.

DEC. 25

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

Bigfoot and the Yeti have earned starring roles in children's films, so now it's time to give the Loch Ness Monster its due. In this live-action fantasy, a lonely boy (Alex Etel of "Millions") finds a mysterious egg that hatches the legendary Scottish creature.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Johnny Depp puts down his pirate sword and picks up another sharp instrument in this adaptation of the hit Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim. The film marks the sixth collaboration between Depp and director Tim Burton.

The Great Debaters

Denzel Washington stars in an inspirational drama based on the 1935 true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, who led the school's first debate team into a national championship against Harvard.

Charlie Wilson's War

Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Mike Nichols and Aaron Sorkin are some of the on-camera and behind-the-camera talent associated with this historical drama. Hanks portrays Texas congressman Charlie Wilson, whose covert arming of the rebels in 1980s Afghanistan has long-reaching consequences.

"Alien vs. Predator: Requiem" opens nationally Dec. 25.

"Alien vs. Predator: Requiem" opens nationally Dec. 25.

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

"Requiem" implies an end to the "Alien" series, which once began so fabulously and now is in dwindling returns after six installments. Here, the warring Alien and Predator species (though no actual Species, thankfully) descend upon a small town, where residents must band together in order to survive.

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