Winter Film Releases – Part II

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Here’s the second set of films I’m looking at that will be coming to theaters this winter. (Here is Part I if you missed it.)

In the remaining days of 2011 there are a large number of films coming to theaters. Some of these films seem destined for greatness while the rest seem destined for a quick weekend at the box office before they find their way to the store shelves. In between there are a lot of films that I expect will do well and leave people happy that they spent their time and money to watch them. Here is part two of a four-part series on the films yet to be released in 2011. (Click on the picture for more information about the films.)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I

Release Date: 11/18/2011

Rating: PG-13

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

There is a large portion of movie watchers that have been holding their breath for this release. This half of the final chapter of the Twilight saga is likely to be hugely successful. The previous films have built up a following like Harry Potter before it. I’ve seen the previous films and I’m interested in seeing how the story continues. For the readers of the books I’m sure they’re hoping for a chance to see some of their favorite moments played out on-screen. Commercially this film is almost a guaranteed success, I’ll be interested to see how it’s received by the critics.

This time around the film focuses first on the wedding that all the Twilight fans have been waiting for. Soon afterwards the unborn child of Edward and Bella creates threats for the wolves and the vampires. The betrayals and adventure continue with the second to last film in this popular series.


Another Happy Day

Release Date: 11/18/2011

Rating: R

Starring: Ellen Barkin, Thomas Haden Church, Demi Moore, Ezra Miller, Kate Bosworth

Ellen Barkin plays Lynn, a woman with a broken family that seems to be falling apart. All of this is happening as she prepares to attend the wedding of her estranged son Dylan. The film focuses on the many issues her family members have as they attempt to get together despite the bad terms everything has been left on.  Lynn is also faced with the demons from her past that are pushing towards the surface.

This film feels like it will fall into the “pass or fail” category of success. On the surface this could be an interesting film similar to Little Miss Sunshine, meant to make you laugh and cry, or it could be a depressing look at a broken family that falls flat as it attempts to bring some redeeming qualities to the surface. I’ll personally be putting this on my “wait and see” list.

The Muppets

Release Date: 11/23/2011

Rating: PG

Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones

What happens when you get the Muppets back on-screen? I would argue we’ll get a great family film that brings some of us back to the days of The Muppet Movie or The Muppets Take Manhattan.

This time around the Muppets are trying to save their careers from the grip of an evil oil tycoon. Their help consists of some loyal fans played by Jason Segel and Amy Adams.

I’m expecting music and a lot of the great hallmarks of the Muppet films of the past. I’m planning on seeing this one out of nostalgia. The film looks to be pretty fun and as long as they can capture the Muppet magic the film should be successful.

The Artist

Release Date: 11/23/2011

Rating: PG-13

Starring: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell

This film has been critically acclaimed in its limited release. It’s won a number of awards at several prominent film festivals including Cannes where Jean Dujardin won Best Actor. The cast includes a lot of big names and the talent looks to be stacked in this films favor. Writer and director Michel Hazanavicius looks to have made his first major commercially successful film this time around.

The story focuses on the career of silent movie star George Valentin (Dujardin) who is fearful that talking films are going to push him out of the business. Meanwhile an actress on the rise catches his eye. The uncertainty of both of their careers come together in this critically acclaimed film.

Despite being a French language film I expect this to have a lot of success in the United States where our film market is dominated by domestic movies. The success this film has already had seems to be pointing towards a good awards season as well. I’m hopeful that this film will live up to my expectations and the acclaim it has recieved. I’ll be sure to catch this one when it opens.

My Week With Marilyn

Release Date: 11/23/2011

Rating: R

Starring: Michelle Williams, Emma Watson, Kenneth Branagh, Dominic Cooper, Eddie Redmayne

This film looks to be an interesting addition to the winter film releases. Starring some big names and some new names it focuses on one of the most famous and mythical figues in American entertainment. My Week With Marilyn has already won Michelle Williams the Actress of the Year Award at the Hollywood Film Festival and looks to continue its success as the critics lavish praise on the film.

The story follows the contentious relationship between Marilyn Monroe (Williams) and Sir Laurence Olivier (Branagh) during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl in 1957. The interaction is closely followed by Olivier’s employee Colin Clark (Redmayne). This contention takes place even as Monroe tries to work during her honeymoon with Arthur Miller. She finds release as her husband and co-star are distanced from her.

I don’t know the story but it’s a film based on two books by Colin Clark and seems to be getting good reviews so far. I’m excited to see the film since it’s a chance to see Williams in a role some are calling her best.

A Dangerous Method

Release Date: 11/23/2011

Rating: R

Starring: Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender

Ever wondered where psychoanalysis came from? Well this film is the story of Carl Jung (Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) and how their works combined into the modern field. All of this might be a bit boring if it wasn’t for the woman who came between them. Sabina Spielrein (Knightley) is the troubled woman who creates the drama in this period piece about the new science being developed.

I’m not sure that I’m anxious to see this film. I’m a fan of all the main stars but the plot seems like it could drag. It’ll likely be in the list of films I’ll wait to see until I’ve got more information. Director David Cronenberg is mainly known for graphic films and horror flicks so this seems to be a departure from his niche. Previous films include The Fly and A History of Violence. I think this has a 50/50 chance with viewers since it’s got an obscure subject that may not appeal at first glance to most people. The critics have been kind so don’t avoid this film if it seems to be of interest to you.

Answers to Nothing

Release Date: 12/2/2011

Rating: R

Starring: Dane Cook, Elizabeth Mitchell, Julie Benz, Barbara Hershey

The story is one about the best and worst of humankind. A missing girl becomes the center of a story that follows different lives each in a state of stress, grief, or loss. As the characters go through life they’re each affecting one another despite being entirely unaware. In the end it becomes a lesson in the actions we take or don’t take and how they affect the world we live in.

Dane Cook doesn’t normally come up when I think about emotionally driven serious film. Mr. Brooks was probably his closest attempt so far. That being said, this looks like it could be a good film. It seems to come from the same vein as Crash with its divided story lines and the effects they have as they converge. This may just be a surprise film from indie filmmaker Matthew Leutwyler and Ambush Entertainment. I’m hopeful for success since this premise is one I can sink my teeth into.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Release Date: 12/9/2011

Rating: R

Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy

What happens when KGB spies need to be uncovered within MI6 during the Cold War? This time it’s a call to a semi-retired intelligence officer named George Smiley (Oldman).

The story seems to be straight-forward but it’s likely to be anything but. With the trio of actors combining with other great talents this film should be a blockbuster success. I’m excited for this film since it’s bringing a story to the screen that seems fresh and exciting. As this series of John le Carre novels come to the screen I’m sure some readers might be less thrilled. Perhaps this is a casualty of distilling the novels into one 127 minute film. Either way I’m excited to see this one when it comes to a theater near me.

This set of eight films is likely to bring something to the screen for everyone. I’m excited to examine more of 2011’s late releases with my next article. If I’ve missed a film that you think needs mention please let me know and I’ll take time to highlight that one as well.

Stay tuned for Part III……

Stay tuned for part II of this series on the films coming to theaters soon.

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