Sunday, November 27, 2011

The 2011 Holiday Movie Season is Here: Have Yourself a Good Time at the Theatre

The holiday movie season is upon us and with it comes the second blockbuster season of the year with what promises to be a mixed bag of a line-up with blockbuster films like Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” the dark thriller “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” the highly-anticipated Sherlock Holmes sequel, the all-star ensemble romantic comedy New Year’s Eve and family films like The Adventures of Tintin and The Muppets. This is also when movie studios make a final push before the start of awards season by releasing Oscar bait, and this year is no exception with Steven Spielberg’s War Horse set for release.

This time in the movie world often treats moviegoers to some great film fare. Consider the holiday movie season of ’08 that gave us Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Doubt. This year promises to be just as good with big name stars starring in some pretty interesting vehicles and there’s plenty of variety too.

I found this year to be a rather underwhelming one for movies, but there look to be some real game changers set for release in the last two months of the year that could help salvage a rather mediocre year in film.

Here are a few selections from the 2011 holiday movie season:


This is a Roman Polanski film that teams Jodi Foster and John C. Reilly with Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz as parents who decide to meet after their kids have a schoolyard brawl. With a cast this great, there’s no doubt we’ll be treated to some superb performances.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Gary Oldman stars as a disgraced British spy who is hired secretly by his government to uncover a double agent working for the Soviets who has infiltrated MI-6. This film is based on a novel and early buzz is that it’s a great international thriller.

Young Adult

I haven’t seen Charlize Theron in anything worthwhile in quite some time, so it was a welcome surprise to see her headlining the new Jason Reitman-Diablo Cody vehicle Young Adult. Theron plays Mavis Gary, a writer who returns to her hometown to relive her glory days and with the hopes of reuniting with her married high school sweetheart.

The Iron Lady

Meryl Streep does what she does best in the intimate biopic about Margaret Thatcher – she immerses herself in the role to completely embody the character. The film documents the strides made by the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to break through gender and class barriers in a male-dominated society. I think it’s safe to assume that Streep will likely receive her 14th Oscar nomination for this role.

New Year’s Eve

Gary Marshall recycles his last movie idea, but instead of taking place on Valentine’s Day, his new film takes place on New Year’s Eve. Once again, he’s assembled a large ensemble cast, only this time, he tells a series of intertwining stories of a group of New Yorkers on New Year’s Eve.

We Bought a Zoo

I’m happy to see a directorial effort by Cameron Crowe since he hasn’t made a feature film since 2005’s forgettable Elizabethtown. We Bought a Zoo is a film based on true events that tells the story of a recently-widowed father who moves to a beautiful estate miles outside of the city that also doubles as a dilapidated zoo.

The Adventures of Tintin

This marks Steven Spielberg’s first animated movie. He animates the popular comic book character Tintin using a performance-capture process similar to the one used to create Gollum in Lord of the Rings.

What film are you most looking forward to seeing this holiday season? Let us know in the comments section.


  1. Hadn't heard of Carnage... sounds very interesting! Especially with that cast!

  2. The two big'uns for me in 2011 are the Spielberg double-play of TINTIN and WAR HORSE.

    Why-oh-why do they have to come out a week apart from each other? Why couldn't Uncle Stven space these things out a bit more?

  3. Phips2:20 pm

    Young Adult and New Years Eve, seriously? Well, to each his own...

    Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy is a good shout. Gary Oldman up for an Oscar for that.
    Tintin looks great..grew up reading those comics.

    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo wont compare to the Swedish version but it'll still be good.

    Rampart with Woody Harrelson is getting limited release but it deserves a shout as well. Woody looks excellent in that film.

  4. Tintin, Dragon Tattoo, Carnage, Shame, and Mission Impossible are high on my list.

    Not quite sold on War Horse yet. Generally movies about horses just do not interest me. Still, I am willing to see what Spielberg will do with the material.

  5. Let's see, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Shame, Carnage, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Young Adult, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and The Iron Lady.

    War Horse and We Bought a Zoo are maybes but I'm still not sure about them. New Year's Eve... FUCK OFF!!!

  6. I'm looking forward most to Tintin, Young Adult and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Overall, this should be a solid end of the year. I also still have to see The Artist and Shame among many others.

  7. @Pete - The cast definitely makes the film worth considering.

    @Ryan McNeil - They're very different films, so I guess Uncle Steven was in a giving mood this holiday season and wanted to treat movie-goers to not one, but two films.

    @Phips - I included Young Adult and New Year's Eve for good measure since they'll appeal to certain audiences.

    Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy looks like it will be a great thriller and I've always liked Gary Oldman and it looks like he's turned in a superb performance.

    I'm not familiar with any version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (book, previous film adaptations, etc.) and I think I'll keep it that way and see the film with no preconceived notions going in. I'm looking forward to that one.

    Rampart, you say? I will read up on that one. Thanks for the shout-out.

    @CS - A double-feature sounds like a great idea. What say you?

    @thevoid99 - great list. I'll have to read up on We Need to Talk About Kevin since I haven't heard about that film yet.

    War Horse is also a maybe for me.

    Another one miffed at the New Year's Eve mention - my list was non-discriminatory. A little something for everyone this holiday season.

    @Castor - I'm so happy to see the year in film ending on a strong note. There really is no shortage of great films to see, it seems. It's a beautiful thing.

  8. I'm actually really looking forward to Ghost Protocol, especially since it's directed by Brad Bird. I'm interested to see what he does in a live-action setting with a big budget.

    I also am excited to see Tinker, Tailor due to Oldman and the spy story. Tin Tin looks promising, though I have no interest in War Horse after seeing the trailer. I also want to check out the Artist. Finally, the trailer for the Dragon Tattoo made me want to see it (along with Fincher), but I know little about the books or the original movies.

  9. I read the script to Carnage and though it was gut wrenching painful in the same vain as Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe. But now, seeing the trailers which play in an almost comic tone make me worried for the finished product, especially after some mixed festival reviews as well.

  10. @Dan Heaton - I'm also looking forward to Ghost Protocol. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is definitely on my list of films to see over the holidays. My other must-sees are Sherlock Holmes (mostly because I'm a huge Robert Downey Jr. fan and I think he's perfectly cast at Holmes) and Carnage.

    @Mike Lippert - the trailer did have a comedic tone to it, but maybe it's just the way it was put together and not what the end result will be? Given the exceptional cast, I'm going to check it out.

  11. Excited for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Tintin, I sure hope both will deliver!

  12. @ruth - I hope those films don't disappoint too.

  13. Hi JBT,

    It's easier to say the ones that I'm skipping and that's 'The Iron Lady' and 'New Year's Eve'.

    Looking to spend Christmas day at the theater with War Horse and Dragon Tattoo and maybe We Bought a Zoo.

  14. @Max - I'll probably reserve The Iron Lady and, maybe, New Year's Eve for The Movie Network.

    I used to go to the theatre all the time on Christmas day, but haven't been for a few years. That may change this year with the great line-up on tap.


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