Every year at this time, Hollywood releases the Christmas and holiday
blockbusters, counting on family audiences to fill the theaters. As
long as a film's character in the seasonal red costume makes one funny
blunder after another, the holiday spirit lives on.
also the season when movie heavyweights shine. A number of expensive
productions with mega-stars are coming out these days. Some have
already been released. The champions will take the road to February's
Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman pair
up in the epic film Australia. The movie opens in 1939 in the
Australian outback. Kidman plays Lady Sarah Ashley, a young widow who
arrives from England to take care of her late husband's ranch. There,
she meets cattleman Drover. He helps her drive her livestock across
vast stretches of land, saves her business and wins her heart.
fictional melodrama is impressive for its cinematic splendor and for
the solid performances of its two mega-stars. Unfortunately, the
romance is smothered by a meandering screenplay that spans corrupt
cattle barons, local politics, Australia's preparation for World War
II, and social injustice against Aborigines. Inevitably, the movie runs
On July 20, 1944, a group of
military officers conspired to kill Hitler. The plot, dubbed
"Operation Valkyrie," failed. Director Bryan Singer brings this
historic event onto the big screen in his drama Valkyrie. The film is
more thriller than history and has already won good reviews for its
cast, its trim scenes and its historical accuracy. Tom Cruise stars as
Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the operation's mastermind.
is convincing as a German officer, although his American accent
undermines the performance. All in all, this is a gripping film. The
question is whether moviegoers will want to see a film about Adolph
Hitler on Christmas Day, when the movie premieres.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
of the most impressive films this season is The Curious Case of
Benjamin Button. This adaptation of a 1920s story by F. Scott
Fitzgerald is about a man who ages backwards.
conceptually, David Finch's film is magical. Brad Pitt delivers a
powerful performance as a man whose life story transcends time.
Benjamin, as a child, has the wrinkled face of an 80-year-old, but
brimming with innocence. As he gets older, his face turns youthful but
it carries the weariness of age.
Actress Kate Blanchet plays Daisy, Benjamin's love.
younger Benjamin becomes, the older those close to him get. One by one,
they die. The only thing that transcends life is love and its memory.
Benjamin's and Daisy's relationship embodies that message. The film
received a Golden Globe nomination for best picture, making it an Oscar
More Movies in Store
Other films are the
heartwarming drama Seven Pounds, starring Will Smith as a mysterious
man called Ben. Ben carries a dark secret he intends to take with him
to the grave. And he plans to kill himself. Before he commits suicide,
he decides to help transform the lives of seven strangers.
sci-fi remake of the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still
showcases Keanu Reeves as an alien who comes to earth with a message:
Time is up for the human race. Klaatu's mission is to save the earth.
To do that, he has to destroy the human species, which is killing the
Shot during the Cold War, the original version dealt
effectively with the realities of its time. Unfortunately, the remake
loses its meaning to a mindless script.
Reeves is expressionless as a
messenger from outer space. Then again, who knows? Maybe aliens tend to
be expressionless. But the biggest star in this film turns out to be
the special effects.
Finally, The Tale of Desperaux, is a
story of an astoundingly brave mouse who sets out to find and save
kidnapped Princess Pea. Desperaux is tiny but fearless. He also speaks
Matthew Broderick is the voice behind Desperaux's animated
image. Emma Watson, the famous Hermione from the Harry Potter films,
interprets Princess Pea. This artfully animated film will delight kids
and entertain parents on Christmas Day.