It’s become as much a part of the holidays as eggnog and fruitcake. Starting this month, Hollywood begins to roll out their biggest movies, providing eager movie fans with plenty of distractions from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. This year’s offerings look promising—not the predictable flood of sequels that have been filling our movie theaters lately. After browsing through dozens of trailers, these four films are my picks for this season. You can view trailers for these films by clicking on movie images below.
Quantum of Solace (Nov. 14)
Where do they get the names for Bond films? Daniel Craig is back as James Bond, 007. Solace promises more action than Craig’s debut as Bond in Casino Royale, which kind of dragged on in places (poker, anyone?) Judging from the trailer, it looks like Solace will deliver. The film takes place only minutes after the ending of Casino Royale, making it the first true sequel in the Bond franchise. This time, Bond is out for revenge, uncovering a sinister plot that will lead him to Austria, Italy, and South America. And, yes, there will be new “Bond girls,” fast cars, and gadgets (oh my!).
The Road (Nov. 14)
Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron
Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Road, was so well received that Oprah even anointed it one of her book club selections. Be forewarned: This film adaptation is about as bleak a story as one can get. Set in post-apocalyptic America, The Road follows a father and son as they walk along a grey, barren landscape. Carrying only a pistol and a cart of scavenged food, they must brave the bandits and cannibals who stalk the road as they journey to their destination, the coast. Not knowing what they will find there, the coast is their only hope in a desolate world, and the only thing that keeps them going is each other. While there are very tense moments, it’s not a “Mad Max” type of action movie with lots of fighting and explosions, but rather a frightening and lonely tale that makes one appreciate how easy and comfortable life is in America, even during difficult times such as these.
Bolt (Nov. 21)
John Travolta, Miley Cyrus
Kids are going to love Bolt. Start shopping for Bolt toys now, because it’ll be Disney’s big animation offering this holiday. The plot is a familiar one—a “fish out of water” theme where the protagonist has to find his way home (a la Cars, Finding Nemo). This time, the hero is Bolt, a Hollywood pooch who believes he really is the superhero that he plays in movies. He is joined by two unlikely companions—a cat and a hamster, which will provide plenty of laughs for youngsters. Disney is smart, though, and you can expect enough “over the head” humor to keep adults in the audience entertained as well.
Four Christmases (Nov. 26)
Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon
I laughed out loud as I watched this trailer. If the movie is half as funny as the trailer, it’s going to be the funniest movie of the year. Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn play a couple who have managed to avoid the stress that comes with multi-family holiday obligations by always leaving town during that time. But this year, their exotic travel plans are interrupted and they find themselves forced to trudge through four relative-infused holiday celebrations. Old wounds are re-opened and childhood fears are reborn as they are subjected to dysfunctional family dynamics. But I’m guessing there will be a heartwarming epiphany by the end of the movie (after all, it is the holidays), leading the selfish couple to rethink their feelings toward families and the holidays.