Holiday season brings a truckload of new movies

As the holidays draw close, movie theaters everywhere begin preparing for perhaps their busiest season of the year.  Many production companies save their biggest blockbusters for late autumn and early winter, knowing the holidays’ tendency to bring people together and the cold weather’s tendency to steer people indoors.

There are movies for everyone – romances, comedies, romantic comedies, family flicks, book adaptations, inspirational sports dramas – I think you get the point.  Check out these previews of this holiday season’s potential blockbusters.

Planet 51 (Nov. 20 – rated PG)
Written by one of the masterminds behind Shrek, Planet 51 tells the tale of astronaut Chuck Baker (voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and his journey to an uninhabited planet.  The only problem is, it is inhabited – by little green aliens who live in a strikingly Americanized culture with little houses and picket fences and barbecues.  Now, the astronaut becomes the alien.  Will Chuck be able to survive in this strange world, surrounded by little green men who have never before encountered a human being?

Twilight: New Moon (Nov. 20 – rated PG-13)
You probably know by now whether you enjoy the Twilight phenomenon or not.  New Moon is the second of the series’ movie adaptations.  It depicts Bella moping through her senior year of high school, pining for her vampire crush Edward who, guess what, is playing hard to get.  Meanwhile, she begins spending time with the equally mysterious Jacob, who helps her fix up a motorcycle to, as the official plot synopsis states, “carry her on her adventures.”  There will be vampires.  There will be werewolves.  There will be romance.  New Moon will destroy the box office and become the talk of the town, whether you’re a fan or not.

The Blind Side (Nov. 20 – rated PG-13)
Michael Oher is poor, homeless and uneducated.  Oh, and he’s a teenager, too.  The Blind Side tells the true story of Oher, now an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens.  Taken in by a relatively well-to-do white family, Michael begins to overcome the challenges of his difficult childhood and realize his true potential both in the classroom and on the football field.  With the help of his adoptive parents and a tutor, Oher bumps his 0.9 GPA up to a 2.65 and proves himself capable of balancing school and sports, earning the respect of his teachers, coaches, teammates and peers.  The film stars Quinton Aaron as Oher and Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw as his adoptive parents.

The Road (Nov. 25 – rated R)
Based on the bestselling novel by Cormac McCarthy (author of No Country for Old Men), The Road is a post-apocalyptic road trip movie.  Well, sort of.  An unspecified yet all-encompassing disaster has left the entire country devastated. Very few are alive, and those who have managed to survive must scrounge for food and shelter like animals, trying to avoid the cannibalistic clans who wander in search of their own type of sustenance.  The sun is almost completely blotted out by ash and dust, and the winter is permanent.  A man and his son, the focus of the movie, travel south with hopes of finding warmer weather and water.  Will The Road live up to the gut-wrenching book it was adapted from, or will it fall short and become yet another one of those dime-a-dozen “end of the world” movies?

Brothers (Dec. 4 – rated R)
When Sam, a Marine, husband and father of two goes missing in Afghanistan, his younger misfit brother, Tommy, takes his place at home and cares for his family.  Brothers features a grand slam of a cast including Tobey Maguire as Sam, Jake Gyllenhaal as Tommy and Natalie Portman as Sam’s wife.  Sam and Tommy are worlds apart; Sam is a wholesome family man embarking on his fourth tour of duty for the Marines, whereas Tommy is a charismatic troublemaker fresh out of jail.  Tommy’s patriarchal presence in the home of his MIA brother stirs up quite a bit of drama and chaos, leaving a mark on everyone in the household.

Everybody’s Fine (Dec. 4 – rated PG-13)
When a widower (Robert De Niro) starts feeling lonely around the holidays, he decides to go on a series of surprise visits to the homes of his grown children and their families.  He expects to be welcomed with open arms, but he seemingly fails to realize that his children all have their own separate lives now – and they’re far from perfect lives.  Everybody’s Fine tells the story of a family reconnecting with each other against the backdrop of one of the most cherished times of the year – Christmas.