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Holiday movie preview: Hobbits and heroes ‘Hobbit’ among anticipated titles coming our way

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, at 11:25 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, at 7:57 a.m.

Upcoming independent films

These titles are slated to open at the Warren east:

•  “The Sessions” — John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”) is getting awards buzz for this Sundance Film Festival audience award-winner as a man in an iron lung who wants to lose his virginity. So he enlists the help of a professional sex surrogate (Helen Hunt). (Opening Friday)

•  “Anna Karenina” — Keira Knightley and Jude Law star in this drama set in late 19th-century Russia, where an aristocrat enters into a life-changing affair with an affluent man. (Nov. 30)

•  “The Paperboy” — Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman and John Cusack star in this steamy drama that follows a reporter who returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate. (Dec. 7)

•  “Hitchcock” — Anthony Hopkins plays the famed filmmaker in this look at the love story between him and Alma Reville during the filming of “Psycho” in 1959. (Dec. 14)

James Bond officially kicked off the holiday movie season on Friday with a bang. Literally. My ears are still ringing from all the explosions.

But there are more films headed our way, as Hollywood rolls out its holiday goodies. We’ll say goodbye to certain vampires, greet a new Hobbit and update an ’80s hit, just to name a few.

Here’s a look at what’s in store through the end of the year (release dates subject to change):

Friday

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2” — The series concludes with Bella (perennially pouty Kristen Stewart), husband Edward (ever-pale Robert Pattinson) and best friend Jacob (ridiculously abbed Taylor Lautner) pondering their final destinies – and what acting gigs they will get after this.

“Lincoln” – Steven Spielberg directs this portrait of the beloved president, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, who fights to emancipate slaves while the Civil War rages on.

Nov. 23

“Silver Linings Playbook” – Bradley Cooper (“The Hangover) and Jennifer Lawrence (“The Hunger Games”) star in this comedy/drama about a former teacher who moves back in with his parents after a stint at a mental institution. As he tries to reconcile with his ex-wife, he instead falls for a mysterious girl with problems of her own – like how to get her hair to look as good as Cooper’s.

“Life of Pi” – Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain”) directs this adventure tale based on the popular novel about an Indian boy named Pi, who finds himself adrift on the Pacific Ocean after a shipwreck with a hyena, zebra, orangutan and Bengal tiger at his side.

“Rise of the Guardians” – From DreamWorks Animation comes this tale of an evil spirit that launches an assault on Earth, causing a group of guardians to rise up and protect the children of the world.

“Red Dawn” – This re-make of the 1984 original follows a group of overly photogenic teenagers who gear up to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers (Russian soldiers in the original). Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) and Josh Hutcherson (“The Hunger Games”) lead the young cast.

Dec. 7

“Playing for Keeps” – After a string of action flicks, Gerard Butler returns to romantic comedy as a former sports star who has fallen on hard times and starts coaching his son’s soccer team in an attempt to get his life together.

Dec. 14

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” – It’s been a long time coming through several roadblocks (and directors), but Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy) finally brings the beloved book to the big screen with all the spectacle that we expect, following curious Hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he journeys with a rambunctious group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen by a dragon. Pesky dragons!

Dec 19

“The Guilt Trip” – Barbra Streisand returns to acting in this comedy as the overly doting mother of an inventor (Seth Rogen) who takes her along on the road to sell his latest invention.

“Monster’s Inc. 3-D” — Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) return for this re-release in 3-D that will remind us what an inventive animated film this is, a refresher course for the upcoming sequel “Monsters University” in 2013.

Dec. 21

“This is 40” – Sort of a sequel to the Seth Rogen/Katherine Heigl comedy “Knocked Up,” catching up on the lives of secondary characters Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) a few years after the events of the first film. Judd Apatow again writes and directs.

“Jack Reacher” – Tom Cruise stars as a homicide investigator who digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims. Based on the popular novel series.

“Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away” – The popular stage show hits theaters. Because seeing it live is so boring.

Christmas Day

“Django Unchained” – Quentin Tarantino’s revisionist Western follows a slave-turned-bounty hunter who sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. Starring Jamie Foxx, Don Johnson and Leonardo DiCaprio.

“Les Miserables” – Adaptation of the beloved stage musical based on Victor Hugo’s novel set in 19th-century France, about a paroled prisoner named Jean Valjean, who seeks redemption. The high-brow cast includes Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter.

“Parental Guidance” – Comedy starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as a couple whose old-school parenting techniques don’t work when they look after their three grandchildren while their daughter (Marisa Tomei) is away at work.

Reach Rod Pocowatchit at rpocowatchit@wichitaeagle.com.

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