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Mike's ProfileMike has a degree in Film from The University of Texas at Austin. He has worked in the entertainment industry for the past 25 years and sees two to four new movies in the theatre a week. Mike has a weekly movie blog where he reviews films both present and past at: lastonetoleavethetheatre.blogspot.com He can be followed on Twitter @lastonetoleave
Opening this week at a theatre near you:
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
After serving an eight month court mandated stay at a mental institution, Pat (Bradley Cooper) moves to his parent’s home to try and get his life back on track. His plan is to get in shape and prove that he has changed with hopes of reconciling with his ex-wife. Pat’s world changes when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a woman who has problems just as severe as Pat’s. Silver Linings Playbook Website
What to Watch For: Jennifer Lawrence is the front runner for Best Actress at the Academy Awards with this role.
Word on the Street: Director David O. Russell had a falling out with Mark Wahlberg when he gave the role of Pat to Bradley Cooper.
My Take: This film has won several audience awards at recent film festivals and is sure to be a big hit this holiday season. It doesn’t hurt that Robert De Niro plays Pat’s father.
Life of Pi (2012)
A young man survives a ship wreck only to be lost at sea on a large lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger. Now he must survive using his wits and the teachings of his father. Life of Pi Website
What to Watch For: The film is being compared to “Avatar” based on its beauty.
Word on the Street: This film is almost a given for a Best Picture nomination.
My Take: Will audiences see it, like they did with “Slumdog Millionaire” (which was a highly successful art house film), or will it be forgotten like last year’s “War Horse?”
Red Dawn (2012)
When Washington state is invaded by North Koreans, a group of teenagers, led by a marine (Chris Hemsworth) who is home of leave, take matters into their own hands and start fighting back using tactics from the more famous insurgent groups of the past. Red Dawn Website
What to Watch For: This film was made a few years ago, before Chris Hemsworth made it big with “Thor” and “The Avengers” and before Josh Hutcherson starred as Peeta in “The Hunger Games.”
Word on the Street: Will nostalgia for the 1984 Patrick Swayze film of the same name drive people to the box office?
My Take: The studio will have to hope that teenagers will go see this film in a very crowded marketplace where there are five major releases happening.
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
When the evil spirit, Pitch, attacks Earth, the Immortal Guardians fight to protect the children. Rise of the Guardians Website
What to Watch For: The Guardians are made up of a team that includes Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, Jack Frost and the Tooth Fairy.
Word on the Street: The film is based on a series of books written by William Joyce. Joyce came up with the idea for the books when his 6 year-old daughter asked him if Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny knew each other.
My Take: The voice cast for this animated film is impressive with Chris Pine as Jack Frost, Hugh Jackman as the Easter Bunny and Alec Baldwin as Santa Claus.
Anna Karenina (2012)
In 19th century Russia, Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) is a married woman with a small boy living a content life with her aristocratic husband. Then she meets Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) with whom she proceeds to have an affair; it’s a relationship that will change her life and the lives of everyone around her. Anna Karenina Website
What to Watch For: Based on the famous novel by Leo Tolstoy, screenwriter Tom Stoppard is known for his dialogue heavy scenes in such films as “Shakespeare in Love” and “Billy Bathgate.”
Word on the Street: The film is being talked about for its lavish set design and cinematography.
My Take: This isn’t your ordinary adaptation of a famous novel, as director Joe Wright and writer “Stoppard” place most of the film inside a theatre.
If you can’t make it to the theatre this weekend, then stay at home and watch movies on CW69.
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (2006) Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Lequizamo), Diego (Denis Leary), Scrat (Chris Wedge) and the rest of the Ice Age gang are back. Everyone is adjusting to their new melting world, except for Manny. Manny is convinced that he is the last woolly mammoth in the world until he meets Ellie (Queen Latifah), a female wooly. One problem – they hate each other.
Christmas with the Kranks (2004) With the daughter away, Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) decide not to decorate their home for Christmas. The neighborhood doesn’t react well to this decision, but the Kranks hold their ground, that is until their daughter decides to make a last minute trip home.