Ten great movies for Christmas 2012

Hollywood hasn't give us much to celebrate during the holidays in recent years, but in 2012 they have outdone themselves. Here's ten good ones now playing or coming up. Photo: From the movie Anna Karenina

CHARLOTTENovember 26, 2012 – Hollywood has been doing its best Rip Van Winkle impersonation for the past several years by falling asleep during the Christmas movie season. If there is a rational explanation why Tinseltown woke up in 2012 it is difficult to find, but whatever jolt of adrenaline they got should be a box office bonanza in coming weeks.

In the past month movie-goers have been treated to such cinematic delights as “Argo,” “Skyfall” and “Lincoln” before the traditional Christmas flicks even hit the screen.

With Thanksgiving over and Christmas is on the way, there’s a plethora of big screen magic either in theaters now or on its way. Here are ten of the best holiday movies in order of their release date. If you can afford the popcorn, you’re in for a treat because this year there is something for everybody.

ANNA KARENINA:  Limited release date: 11/16   Rating: (R)

Director: Joe Wright  Cast: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson 

“Anna Karenina” is the third collaboration between Keira Knightly and director Joe Wright. It’s a winning combination after “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement” were major box office hits. This adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel is an epic period piece that Hollywood does best. It is a powerful love story filled with stunning costumes and breathtaking Russian cinematography. Currently in limited release.

LIFE OF PI:  Release date:  11/21  Rating: (PG)

Director: Ang Lee  Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, Tabu

Another film already in theaters. Director Ang Lee is no stranger to powerful, thought provoking films with credentials such as “Brokeback Mountain” and “Lust, Caution” among others. This story involves a young man and a Bengal tiger who survive a disaster at sea to form a unique bond. It is an adventure tale that can be viewed on multiple levels.

HITCHCOCK:  Release date: 11/23  Rating: (PG-13)

Director: Sacha Gervasi  Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson 

The previews for this biopic lead movie lovers to believe the focus of the story is on Alfred Hitchcock’s struggles to get “Psycho” made in the 60s. According to most critics, “Hitchcock” deals more with the relationship between Hitch and his wife, Alma, and her personal life. Anthony Hopkins plays Hitchcock and Helen Mirren is Alma.

KILLING THEM SOFTLY:  Release date: 11/30  Rating: (R)

Director: Andrew Dominik  Cast: Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta 

In this dumb crook film, three fearless but less-than-brilliant guys develop an elaborate scheme to rob a mob-protected card game. Though successful, the trio then faces the problem of avoiding the mob as it seeks revenge for destroying the local crime economy. 

HYDE PARK ON HUDSONRelease date: 12/7  Rating (R)

Director: Roger Michel  Cast: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Olivia Williams, Samuel West

In June of 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor hosted the King and Queen of England at their home at Hyde Park on Hudson in upstate New York Britain was seeking support from FDR as they prepare for war with Germany. The story of love and friendship as told through the eyes of FDR’s friend Daisy. 

THE HOBBIT:  Release date: 12/14  Rating: (Not yet rated)

Director: Peter Jackson   Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis 

 The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was great Christmas fare for three straight winters. Now “The Hobbit” provides this year’s fantasy genre with the journey of Bilbo Baggins who is swept into a quest to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the terrifying dragon Smaug.

 STAND UP GUYS:  Release date: 12/14  Rating: (R)

Director: Fisher Stevens  Cast: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Julianna Margulies.

“Stand Up Guys” offers more than its share of holiday laughs. This comedy-crime film is about a pair of over-the-hill con men who want to reunite the old gang for one more caper. The problem is that one of the partners has accepted a contract to kill his pal.

DJANGO UNCHAINED:  Release date: 12/25  Rating: (Not yet rated)

Director: Quentin Tarantino  Cast: Jamie Foxx, Don Johnson, Leonardo DiCaprio

Westerns used to be a popular genre but in recent years they have been a rarity. Quentin Tarantino, weaves his tale in the South two years before the Civil War. Django is freed by a bounty hunter who buys his freedom and trains him as his deputy. Following that, the pair set out to free Django’s wife from a malicious plantation owner.   

LES MISERABLES:  Release date: 12/25  Rating: (PG-13)

Director: Tom Hooper  Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway

This is the musical adaptation of the story of Jean Valjean who is imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread and later pursued by the fanatical inspector Javert. The story ends with a chase through the sewers of Paris in early 19th century France.

QUARTET:  Release date: 12/28  Rating: (Not yet rated)

Director: Dustin Hoffman  Cast: Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon 

Dustin Hoffman goes behind the camera to make his directorial debut. He has a superb cast to work with as he tells the story of an opera company filled with retired performers reunite once a year to stage a fundraiser for their theater. Surefire laughs in this one.

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in CharlotteNCTaylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to SwitzerlandFrance and Italy for groups of 12 or more.

Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@aol.com Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.

As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 70 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.


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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

 

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