Directed by Clint Eastwood
I’d love to see the combined net worth of the actors from this decade’s Clint Eastwood films—Tommy Lee Jones, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Angelina Jolie, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman and Eastwood himself, to name a few. Too bad Steven Soderbergh nabbed the Ocean’s trilogy, otherwise Dirty Harry’s quest for world domination would be complete. Freeman returns for his second stint in an Eastwood film, this time teamed up with Matt Damon in Invictus, the story of Nelson Mandela and the 1995 South African rugby team’s inspiring run at the World Cup. Eastwood remains behind the camera for this effort, meaning those of us who couldn’t get enough of the off-color egg roll jokes in Gran Torino will have to hope Walt Kowalski ‘s intolerant predisposition makes an appearance through Eastwood’s vision.
A Single Man
Directed by Tom Ford
When you consider the early 1960s backdrop and the chilling theatrical score from composer Abel Korzeniowski, you can’t help but get a bit of an Alfred Hitchcock feel from the trailer for A Single Man. After showcasing at the Venice Film Festival in September, the directorial debut of fashion designer Tom Ford is set to premiere in the U.S. this weekend in a limited release (followed by a wide expansion on Christmas Day). An adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s novel of the same name, A Single Man is the story of a homosexual college professor (Colin Firth) who can’t find meaning in his life after the sudden death of his life-partner (Matthew Goode). The film took home the Queer Lion award in Venice, a trophy awarded to the “Best Movie with Gay Themes & Queer Culture.” That might be where the Hitchcock comparison ends.
The Lovely Bones
Directed by Peter Jackson
Basically, take David S. Goyer’s The Invisible (2007), double its budget, replace Justin Chatwin with Saoirse Ronan, and presto, you have The Lovely Bones. Peter Jackson’s take on Alice Sebold’s novel centers around the rape and murder of Susie Salmon (Ronan). Observing her family and her killer (Stanley Tucci) from “the in-between,” Susie struggles between her thirst for revenge and her desire to help her family move on. Jackson has had an undeniably successful career using CGI to turn the impossible into the plausible, but with Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon and Tucci, it’ll be a minor tragedy if Jackson lets his special effects overwhelm the performances of an immensely talented cast.
The Princess and the Frog
Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker
As the trailer says, this movie is “in the tradition of Walt Disney’s most beloved classics.” Home on the Range was said to be Disney’s last hand-drawn animated film in 2004… $7.4 billion later, Disney owned Pixar, Ed Catmull and John Lasseter took over the animation department and doors reopened for a style that is yet to disappoint. The Princess and the Frog will feature all the ingredients that made family classics like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast so successful—compellingly simple animation, a Broadway-style soundtrack and performances from some of Hollywood’s most recognizable voices (John Goodman, Terrence Howard, Oprah Winfrey). We all know the original story: A cursed frog gets a kiss from a princess, helping him return to his original form. Unfortunately for the princess, Disney’s new rendition of an old tale has some unexpected twists the whole family can enjoy.