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Hollywood set to unleash heavyweights

Fri., Nov. 2, 2012

Brush off your Cabbage Patch Kids, get out your Bangles album and squeeze some air into your Reebok Pumps. The ’80s are back – at least when it comes to this year’s holiday movie releases.

Just look at the lineup of films scheduled for movie theaters between now and Christmas: There is a remake of the 1984 classic “Red Dawn” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” which deals with characters from popular arcade games from three decades ago. James Bond – who spied his way through five movies in the ’80s – returns to the big screen, plus there’s a film version of “Les Miserables,” a musical that debuted on Broadway in 1987. Even Barbra Streisand, who starred in the ’80s films “Nuts” and “Yentl,” is back with “Guilt Trip.”

For those of you who are less nostalgic, there’s also the finale of the “Twilight” film saga and the beginning of the new “Hobbit” franchise.

Here’s a look at some of the films scheduled to open this holiday season:


“Wreck-It Ralph”

Stars: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch. Director: Rich Moore. Plot: The villain of a classic arcade video game wants to finally be the hero. What to expect: The video game character voiced by Silverman will be an instant hit.


Stars: Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood. Director: Robert Zemeckis. Plot: A pilot’s substance abuse is called into question after he crash-lands an airplane. What to expect: Washington will get plenty of Oscar buzz.

“The Man

with the Iron Fists”

Stars: Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Pam Grier, RZA. Director: RZA. Plot: A blacksmith must defend himself and his village. What to expect: Efforts to get moviegoers to watch events in ancient China will be feudal.

Nov. 9


Stars: Daniel Craig, Helen McCrory, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem. Director: Sam Mendes. Plot: James Bond must track down the threat to MI6. What to expect: It’s a Bond film. There will be action, lots of action.

Nov. 16

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2”

Stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner. Director: Bill Condon. Plot: New mom Bella becomes the key player in a vampire battle royale. What to expect: Fans will flock to see the final film.


Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Director: Steven Spielberg. Plot: Abraham Lincoln pushes to get support to emancipate slaves. What to expect: This is not the typical Spielberg film and may disappoint those looking for big special effects and stunts.

Nov. 21

“Red Dawn”

Stars: Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Chris Hemsworth. Director: Dan Bradley. Plot: Teens fight to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers. What to expect: Has a lot to live up to because the original 1984 movie is a cult classic. Local note: The film is set in Spokane, but was filmed mostly in Michigan.

“Life of Pi”

Stars: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan. Director: Ang Lee. Plot: An Indian boy is adrift at sea with a Bengal tiger. What to expect: Will be a visual feast.

“Rise of The Guardians”

Stars: Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin. Director: Peter Ramsey. Plot: Immortal Guardians team up to protect children. What to expect: Familiar characters will entertain young and old.

“Killing Them Softly”

Stars: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins. Director: Andrew Dominik. Plot: An enforcer must track down three crooks who robbed the Mob. What to expect: Box office totals will be driven by Pitt’s appeal.

Dec. 7

“Playing for Keeps”

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Gerard Butler. Director: Gabriele Muccino. Plot: A man’s attempt to reconnect with his son gets sidetracked by a coaching job. What to expect: Will fill the void of romantic comedies.

Dec. 14

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Stars: Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Martin Freeman. Director: Peter Jackson. Plot: Bilbo Baggins joins a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. What to expect: It will be a monumental launch for this film franchise.

Dec. 19

“Zero Dark Thirty”

Stars: Joel Edgerton, Kyle Chandler, Chris Pratt, Harold Perrineau. Director: Kathryn Bigelow. Plot: Navy SEAL Team 6 searches for Osama Bin Laden. What to expect: Could be the surprise hit of the holiday season.

Dec. 21

“This is 40”

Stars: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, John Lithgow, Megan Fox. Director: Judd Apatow. Plot: A look at the lives of Pete and Debbie a few years after “Knocked Up.” What to expect: Hard to say since Apatow’s humor is hit and miss.

“Jack Reacher” Stars: Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Rosamund Pike. Director: Christopher McQuarrie, Plot: A detective looks into the sniper shooting of five people. What to expect: Tom Cruise is a safe bet when he’s not in a musical.

Dec. 25

“Les Miserables”

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried. Director: Tom Hooper. Plot: Ex-prisoner Jean Valjean’s life changes when he agrees to care for a factory worker’s young daughter. What to expect: The popularity of the stage production will make this a box office hit.

“Django Unchained” Stars: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson. Director: Quentin Tarantino. Plot: A slave works with a German bounty hunter to track killers. What to expect: It’s a Tarantino film, so expect this pre-Civil War film to be action-packed and bloody.

“Parental Guidance”

Stars: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Tom Everett Scott, Marisa Tomei. Director: Andy Fickman. Plot: A grandfather’s parenting skills are tested. What to expect: Crystal and Midler should produce plenty of laughs.

“Guilt Trip”

Stars: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Yvonne Strahovski. Director: Anne Fletcher. Plot: An inventor and his mother go on a road trip. What to expect: It all depends on how much chemistry Rogen and Streisand have.


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