The winter-holiday movie season begins Friday, Nov. 16, with the much-anticipated The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2.
The vampires and werewolves in the Twilight series will share the day with Steven Spielberg’s latest Oscar bait, Lincoln. The Civil War-set drama follows Abraham Lincoln’s struggles to end the war and permanently abolish slavery from the United States. Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field give foundation-shaking performances as President and Mrs. Lincoln. Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner, a former resident of Lake Charles, wrote the screenplay.
Right around the corner is Rise of the Guardians, a computer-animated feature written by Oscar-winning Shreveport filmmaker William Joyce. Opening Wednesday, Nov. 21, the Guardians reinvents children’s characters Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost in the guise of warriors who battle an evil spirit set on world domination.
The legions of fans of director Peter Jackson’s adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy-adventure stories will have to wait until Dec. 14 for The Hobbit. The film features returning Lord of the Rings actors Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis.
Also arriving late in the year, Christmas Day to be exact, are the film adaptation of the stage musical Les Misérables, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, and the new Quentin Tarantino movie, Django Unchained. Starring Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz as mid-19th century bounty hunters, Django Unchained is another movie made in Louisiana.
Many of the films opening through December are listed below. Opening dates vary from market to market and are subject to change.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 — The Cullen family of vampires, including new additions Bella and her baby, gather with other vampire clans to protect Bella and Edward’s child from a potentially deadly false allegation. Regular cast members Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene and, the Twilight actor with Baton Rouge roots, Jackson Rathbone, return for what’s promised to be the series’ astonishing and spellbinding finale. The film was partially shot in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
LINCOLN — Two-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis gives a brilliant portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln during the final months of the Civil War. Steven Spielberg directs this powerful historical drama about Lincoln’s determination to end the war and pass the slavery-abolishing 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Sally Field co-stars as Mary Todd Lincoln. The ensemble cast also features Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook and Tommy Lee Jones. Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner based the script in part upon historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.
THE SESSIONS — In this surprisingly funny, touching story, crippled writer Mark O’Brien, a victim of polio, must spend most of his day in an iron lung. Incapable of walking or caring for himself though he is, O’Brien longs to experience a sexual relationship. Helen Hunt plays the sex surrogate who takes O’Brien on as a client.
A LATE QUARTET — Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken lead the cast of this film about an internationally known classical string quartet that struggles to stay together despite conflicting egos, lust and death.
BARRYMORE — Oscar winner Christopher Plummer portrays acclaimed American actor John Barrymore, grandfather of Drew Barrymore. Set in 1942, when the aging actor is no longer a leading man, the film finds a reflective Barrymore feeling the pain of a life that contained perhaps too much pleasure. Opens Nov. 15 in limited release.
THE HOUSE I LIVE IN — From a dealer to a narcotics officer to an inmate to a federal judge, this documentary takes an inside look at the U.S. criminal justice system. Opens Friday, Nov. 16, in New Orleans at Canal Place.
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS — Shreveport’s William Joyce, an Oscar winner for his computer-animated short, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, is co-executive producer and the writer of this computer-animated feature about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost’s epic conflict with an evil spirit.
RED DAWN — Shocked residents of a town in Washington state awaken to the sight of foreign invaders. While their friends, family and neighbors are held captive, a group of young patriots escapes to the surrounding woods to prepare for guerrilla warfare. A remake of a cult classic from 1984, the film features Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Connor Cruise and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
LIFE OF PI — A 16-year-old Indian boy traveling to America survives a storm at sea and ends up sharing a life raft with an orangutan, a hyena and a Bengal tiger.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK — Bradley Cooper plays a man who loses his house, his job and his wife. Following an eight-month prison stay, he moves in with his parents. Down but not out, he vows to rebuild his life and reunite with his wife. Jacki Weaver and Robert DeNiro play the parents. Jennifer Lawrence co-stars as a mysterious young woman with her own set of problems.
THE FITZGERALD FAMILY CHRISTMAS — Edward Burns stars in, writes and directs a drama about adult siblings who want their long absent father to come home for Christmas, for the first time in 20 years. Connie Britton, Mike McGlone and Ed Lauter co-star. Opens in limited release.
RUST AND BONE — Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard plays a radiantly beautiful whale trainer who suffers a terrible accident. Matthias Schoenaerts co-stars as the single father who helps her live again. Opens in limited release.
THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE — This documentary, co-directed by Ken Burns, examines the case of five black and Latino teenagers who were falsely imprisoned for raping a white jogger in Central Park in 1989. Opens in limited release.
ANNA KARENINA — Keira Knightley plays the tragic title character in this drama based on Leo Tolstoy’s novel set in 19th-century Imperial Russia. Jude Law co-stars, Oscar-winning Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare In Love) wrote the screenplay.
KILLING THEM SOFTLY — Three dumb guys dare to steal from the Mob, which causes the local criminal economy to collapse. Brad Pitt plays the enforcer hired to track them down. The big cast includes Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta.
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING — Upon waking up from a coma and discovering that his wife and daughter were killed during a vicious break in, a man makes it his mission to kill their killer. Jean-Claude Van Damme, Andrei Arlovski, Scott Adkins, Dolph Lundgren and Mariah Bonner star in this action-drama. Opens in limited release.
HITCHCOCK — Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren play Alfred Hitchcock and his wife and partner in moviemaking, Alma Reville. Set during the making of Psycho, the film co-stars Scarlett Johansson and Toni Collette. Opens Dec. 7 in New Orleans and Dec. 14 in Baton Rouge.
HYDE PARK ON HUDSON — Bill Murray plays Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the U.S., as Roosevelt plays host to the king and queen of England. It’s the first visit by a British royal couple to the former colonies. Laura Linney co-stars in this behind-the-scenes glimpse at the sexual and political exploits of the most powerful people of their day. Opens Dec. 7 in limited release.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY — Title character Bilbo Baggins hurls himself into an epic quest to reclaim the lost dwarf kingdom of Erebor from Smaug the dragon. The Lord of the Rings trilogy director Peter Jackson helms another of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy-adventures filled with goblins, sorcerers and orcs. The huge cast includes Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis.
ZERO DARK THIRTY — Elite intelligence and military operatives work in secret across the globe to find Osama bin Laden. Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker, leads the search.
THE GUILT TRIP — Seth Rogen plays an inventor who takes a cross-country trip to pitch his latest invention. He brings his mom, played by Barbra Streisand, along for the ride.
MONSTERS, INC. 3D — The Oscar-winning characters in Monsters, Inc., return to theaters in 3D.
JACK REACHER — Tom Cruise stars as an ex-military investigator accused of killing five people. Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog and Robert Duvall co-star.
THIS IS 40 — Writer-director-producer Judd Apatow expands upon the story of Pete and Debbie, characters first seen in the hit comedy Knocked Up. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann star.
THE IMPOSSIBLE — A family’s Christmas vacation in tropical Thailand turns into a struggle for survival after an earthquake and tsunami strike. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor star. Opens in limited release Dec. 21.
NOT FADE AWAY — In 1964, the year the British invaded the American music scene, three friends in New Jersey see the Rolling Stones on TV and decide to start a rock band. The cast includes John Magaro, Jack Huston, Will Brill, Bella Heathcote, Brad Garrett, Christopher McDonald and James Gandolfini.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY 3D — Filmmaker James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic) and director Andrew Adamson put Cirque du Soleil on film in 3D.
LES MISÉRABLES — Directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), the popular stage musical set in 19th-century France comes to the big screen. Hugh Jackman plays the hunted Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe plays his hunter and Anne Hathaway is the tragic Fantine. The cast also features Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.
DJANGO UNCHAINED — Writer-director Quentin Tarantino directs this pre-Civil War story about a slave who becomes a bounty hunter. Oscar winners Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz co-star as Django and Dr. King Schultz. Schultz is searching for the brutal Brittle brothers, while Django wants to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington), from slavery.