2007 Holiday Movie Pool Preview | I am Legend | National Treasure: The Book of Secrets | Alvin and the Chipmunks

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2007 Holiday Movie Pool Preview

I am Legend
National Treasure: The Book of Secrets
Alvin and the Chipmunks
American Gangster
Enchanted
Bee Movie
Beowulf
Fred Claus
His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass
Charlie Wilson's War
P.S., I Love You
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
Hitman
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
The Kite Runner
Lions for Lambs
In case if you don't know what's coming out for the 2007 Holiday Movie Pool Season, check below for a detailed list of this year's crop!

November 2

- American Gangster
I'm a little offended by this title. By definition aren't all gangsters American? The term started here. It's like saying American Tetherball Player. It's just redundant. Universal hopes it's another The Departed. You'd think just a tagline of "It's Denzel and Russell together for the first time since Virtuosity!" would be enough to wet whistles.

- Bee Movie
Last summer's The Ant Bully was heavily criticized for being about ants. Hadn't filmgoers already been there and done that with Antz and A Bug's Life? Leave it to Jerry Seinfeld to buck the trend and go in a completely different direction. Just when you think he'd go and make a movie about nothing, he goes and makes it about bees. Genius.

- Martian Child
This John Cusack vehicle about a single man adopting a troubled child who believes he's an alien was supposed to come out last June before 1408 moved from its original mid-July to mid-June. Thankfully cooler studios heads prevailed realizing a little of John goes a long way. Hopefully they'll release it before Mars gets downgraded from being a planet just like the Mars candy bar was downgraded to merely a Snickers with almonds.

November 9

- Fred Claus
It wouldn't be the Holiday Movie Pool without a little madcap, live-action Santa magic. You know how in Elf Will Ferrell was a fish out of water in the big city? Here we've got Santa's big-city brother as a fish out of water in the North Pole! It's a good thing the Writer's Guild is about to strike. They're not getting paid nearly enough to write this stuff.

- I Could Never Be Your Woman
The Michelle Pfeiffer comeback tour continues with her third movie in five months. This romantic comedy finds the former Catwoman falling for a younger man in Paul Rudd. Finally some sweat revenge for Michelle as she's typically been cast with geriatric leads like Sean Connery, Robert Redford, and Jack Nicholson.

- Lions for Lambs
Speaking of Redford, he returns to the staring and directing chair for this politically charged movie co-starring Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise. Audiences haven't typically flocked to his movies since, well, the 70's, but hey, even I have a soft spot for Legal Eagles. It was basically a comedic version of A Few Good Men with Bob as Tom Cruise, Debra Winger as Demi Moore, and Darryl Hannah as Jack Nicholson. I'll leave it to your own imagination to guess where the weak link was.

November 16

- Beowulf
Robert Zemeckis decided to use the same tools he used to make a modern-day, creepy-faced, holiday classic, The Polar Express, to create a bloody, violent, action-based retelling of the Beowulf legend. Will this film appeal to anyone outside of the Internet/comic book crowd who hasn't had a date in the last year? Or is this the same crowd that will just complain that they're not getting the "real" R-version that's being released internationally? Man, I'm gonna hate to see the flame wars when the Blu-Ray crowd find out it's only going to be released on HD-DVD in four months.

- Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
It's Willy Wonka in a toy factory with Dustin Hoffman as Willy and Natalie Portman as Charlie. Augustus Gloop will get stuck in the tube of teddy bear stuffing, Violet Beauregard will be too eager to play with the new Pensive Putty, Veruca Salt will get thrown into the Snoopy Snow Cone machine, and Mike TeeVee will be teleported into an Etch-a-Sketch.

November 21

- Christmas in Wonderland
A movie with Patrick Swayze, Carmen Electra, and Tim Curry?! Say no more, say no more. Just tell me when I can start lining-up at the theater.

- Enchanted
I have no idea if this is going to work, yet I like the concept of this movie. An animated Disney Princess finds herself in real life New York and hilarity ensures. Sure that sounds a lot like Just Visiting with those 17th century French guys meeting Christina Applegate in modern-day Manhattan, but when has a Disney Princess ever been French? Case closed. (Ok, yes, Beauty and the Beast was based in France which would make Belle French, however, not a single character in that film even had a French accent outside of Lumiere the candlestick who was voiced by Jerry Orbach who was indisputably about as French as Paris, Texas.)

- Hitman
Fox believes its video game-based action movie has what it takes to be a playa this season as it moved from it's original late September date to here. That or they just realized, as I'm sure anyone who's read this far can agree, there's not a frickin' movie anyone wants to see this year!

- Stephen King's The Mist
Not to be confused with John Carpenter's The Fog, it's Stephen King's The Mist. Granted, I'm not saying Mr. Carpenter should have a copyright over a natural weather occurrence, yet couldn't someone as creative as King come up with a different way to tell or name his story? Besides, people can see through mist. It's fog they can't see through. Mist is never even listed on the same menu as pea soup. Whatever evil that's lurking out there that no one can see, it's not hiding in mist. It's hiding in fog. Anyone telling you different is trying to avoid copyright infringement.

November 30

- Awake
Now I would've been the first to suggest a heart transplant for Hayden Christensen after Episode II, but this movie has him become conscious during his surgery. I wouldn't wish that on him. The guy who sold Lucas on going with the midi-chlorins explanation maybe, but not Hayden.

- Flawless
It looks this film is Michael Caine and Demi Moore remaking Entrapment. The idea is already 10 years old and the actors are 10 years older too. Very weird, but hey, it beats hanging around Ashton Kutcher all day.

December 7

- The Amateurs
File this under "It's such a crazy idea, it might just work." Jeff Bridges leads a cast of thousands in this movie about a small town that gets together to make an amateur porn movie that becomes anything but. Co-starring Ted Danson, Lauren Graham, Brad Garrett, Steven Weber, and Isaiah Washington, I almost feel bad other TV staples like Tim Daly, Perry King, and Gerald McRaney weren't included as well. Then again, why am I trying to add male actors to a movie about amateur porn? Moving on…

- The Golden Compass
New Line hopes they've found their next Lord of the Rings series with the first of Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy. The cast is top notch and the effects look great, though Narnia and Middle Earth were both well known universes long before they made it to the big screen… and we all saw how "Based on the best-selling book" worked for Eragon last year. Maybe a theme song would help. We haven't had a decent movie theme song in a long time. Someone get Celine on the phone, stat.

December 12

- The Perfect Holiday
This African-American ensemble holiday picture has all the usual things that go wrong before the uplifting happy ending. Did I ever tell you about the time I saw the MacGyver Holiday Special where all these super serious (at least for MacGyver) issues were being shared by all these people involved with an inner city youth center? So much so, that even during the episode I was thinking there's no way they could pull off the happy ending because they'd gone too far into serious sad land. A friend called me with about ten minutes to go and I ended up missing the end of the show and thus the life-affirming payoff. I was only given the coal and not the present of a warm fuzzy MacGyver ending. Case in point, remember to turn off your cell phones when getting to the end of this movie.

December 14

- Alvin and the Chipmunks
I can still remember the commercials as a kid of Alvin and the Chipmunks singing Coward of the County for one of their many albums. Why someone thought a song about avenging the rape of your girlfriend was a good idea for an animated kids group of counter-tenors, I have no idea. Why Jason Lee has been asked to kill not one but two different nostalgic animated series in one year (he performed the voice of Underdog last summer), I also have no idea.

- I Am Legend
The attempts to make this film are more legendary then the actual film. Twice in the 90's Arnold Schwarzenegger was pegged to star with Ridley Scott directing. Then it was Michael Bay and Will Smith, and then finally still Will but with Johnny Depp co-starring. That didn't work out either, but hey, we still have The Fresh Prince and this still has the look of the only big budget, big name, sci-fi action movie of the season.

- The Kite Runner
Based on the best selling book (which is available at any of your local Starbucks coffee shops), the movie follows the tale of survivors of the conflicts in Afghanistan. I would say more but I don't read books and I don't drink coffee.

December 21

- National Treasure: Book of Secrets
The surprise hit of 2005 returns with a whole book of secrets this time. This is confusing to me though because I thought the last movie established that "the" secret lied with Charlotte. Nothing was mentioned about "one of the many secrets that could be found in the Book of Secrets that we haven't talked about yet" lies with Charlotte. I hate it when sequels make things up as they go along.

- P.S. I Love You
Gerald Butler knows how to cash in on the success of the manly man epic 300… Make a romantic drama with Hilary Swank! Featuring the standard all-star ensemble cast of the holiday season, you'll learn to love, mourn, grieve, pull it back together, and love all over again. It's like Meatloaf's I'll Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) song only two hours longer… Well, if you were listening to the album version, maybe just an hour longer.

- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Stephan Sondheim's epic operatic musical returns to the big-screen with big name Johnny Depp in the lead and fellow compatriot Tim Burton behind the lens. Atmospheric and moody shouldn't be the problem with this film. It's whether they can mesh the music and a public who's used to their anti-hero's saying as few a words as possible, not singing arias.

- Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
It's a parody of pop music icon bio pics, I get it! Because the alcoholism, drugs, and verbal abuse in Ray and Walk the Line was so funny the first time, it deserved a whole movie to be funny by itself.

December 25

- Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem
Nothing says chestnuts roasting over a fire like the smell of burning human flesh with alien acid. The timing of this movie release seems all wrong, however, is there ever a bad time to release a film about an intergalactic struggle in downtown Des Moines?

- The Bucket List
Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman seem determined to reinvent the Grumpy Old Man franchise. They play two elderly gentlemen (what "acting" these two are going to have to do for this role!) who meet in a hospital and decide they need to do all these things on their list before they kick the bucket. By the way, I really think the phrase "Kicking the bucket" is a bit dated and should be replaced with something more modern like "Dropping the remote." "Ah, Frank'll be dropping the remote any day now." It works, I'm telling you!

- Charlie Wilson's War
At last, the pairing of our most popular male and female leads over the past 20 years! Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, what are you going to do to lighten the lives of the working man and put a smile on our faces? Make a movie about arming Afghan rebels in the 80's who later became Taliban leaders. Uh, I was thinking something more along the lines of Pretty Seattle, You Got My Best Friend's Wedding, or Ocean's Splash, but this seems close.

- The Great Debaters
Denzel Washington bookends the pool with this movie about a team of collegiate African-American debaters taking on an all-white team from Harvard. I love watching this antiquated debate style pre-sound bites and YouTube clips. It's hard to believe there was a time when a question was posed during a debate that a person actually answered. Our system is so much better now. "Senator, how would your policies make a difference to our current Health Care crisis?" "That's a great question, Wolf. Did you know my opponent is a coke whore douche bag?"

- The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
And lastly, we have an English movie about a boy raising the Lock Ness monster. I love how the tagline reads "From Walden Media who brought you the Chronicles of Narnia." Why they went with that instead of something like this, I have no idea: "From Walden Media who brought you Hoot, How to Eat Fried Worms, The Seeker, and many other beloved children's books that we mangled… but hey, we got lucky once!"


by Matt Neuenburg on 10/29/2007

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem, Alvin and the Chipmunks, American Gangster, Bee Movie, Beowulf, Charlie Wilson's War, Enchanted, Fred Claus, His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, Hitman, I am Legend, Lions for Lambs, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, National Treasure: The Book of Secrets, P.S., I Love You, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Kite Runner, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
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