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Winter Movie Preview 

The Inlander's Guide to some good old-fashioned family (and anti-family) fun.

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

For the next six weeks, you will go to the movies for exactly three reasons: 1) To spend time with family, 2) to avoid the family you’re tired of spending time with, and/or, if you’re a film nerd, 3) to watch films that will likely be nominated for Oscars.

All other motives are mere variations on or combinations of these three. If it makes you feel better to say, “I feel like I’m totally hogging great uncle Festus — someone else should have the opportunity to hear about his gout — I’m going to go catch The Descendants,” that’s totally fine, just recognize the root motive of what you’re doing.

Then, use this handy guide to help find a film that fits your mood. You’ll thank us. Uncle Festus will, too. (Luke Baumgarten)

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue


MELANCHOLIA

AFTER 11/18 • Rated R

A lifelong sibling rivalry between wealthy siblings Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, along with other aristocratic drama, is cast in a new light when, around the time of Dunst’s (already unhappy) marriage, a new planet is discovered that may be on a collision course with Earth. Sounds odd, but the buzz over the strength of the story and Dunst’s performance has been strong enough to drown out the drama at Cannes, where director Lars Von Trier called himself a Nazi. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Actress (Dunst) (LB) TrailerIMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

THE DESCENDANTS
AFTER 11/18 • Rated R

An early Oscar front-runner, George Clooney is a dad dealing with his wife’s impending death when his rebellious daughters tell him wifey has been cheating on him for a really long time. We’re calling this one a “twisted family-time” so you can look at your own imperfect little family and say, probably for the only time ever, “at least I’m not George Clooney.” OSCAR BUZZ: Best Picture, Actor (Clooney), Supporting Actress (Shailene Woodley), Director (Alexander Payne), Adapted Screenplay (LB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

ARTHUR CHRISTMAS
11/23 • Rated PG

Kids these days — their media-driven, over-stimulated little minds believe in a slicker version of the North Pole, more like the Pentagon than a frosty woodworking shop. In Arthur Christmas, a new animated film featuring high-caliber Brits like Hugh Laurie and Imelda Staunton, the curtain on Santa’s high-tech operation is pulled back. But one little girl’s present is lost somehow in the bureaucracy. Will she have the Christmas morning she deserves? WILL SHE?! OSCAR BUZZ: Potentially, for Best Animated Picture. (Leah Sottile) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

HUGO
11/23 or later • Rated PG-13

Director Martin Scorsese heads in a different direction after 2010’s creep-fest Shutter Island. Hugo, named after its title character, is the tale of an orphan living in a train station in 1930s Paris trying to solve a mystery involving his father and a robot that appears to be straight out of an old pulp magazine. With Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Chloe Grace Moretz and Asa Butterfield. (Joe O’Sullivan) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

THE MUPPETS
11/23 • Rated PG

This is going to be epic. The Muppets are staging “The Greatest Muppet Telethon” in order to raise $10 million, save their theater from an oil tycoon, and reunite the otherwise discombobulated motley crew of puppets. Fozzie is a performer in Reno. Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor. Animal is in anger management. It’ll take Kermit’s omnipotent peacemaking powers — combined with the lovable characters Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) — to save the day. And they will. And it will be great. And there will be pig-on-frog romance, and music, and fart shoes, and robots driving cars. (Jordy Byrd) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

THE ARTIST
11/23 or later • Rated PG-13

An honest-to-God silent film about the death of silent film, it traces the love affair between George Valentine (Jean Dujardin), a movie star of the first order, and Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) as her star is on the rise and his on the wane. Another big early Oscar contender, Best Picture might be a stretch, but writer/director Michel Hazanavicius is looking good for both Director and Original Screenplay. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Picture, Actor (Dujardin), Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography (LB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

A DANGEROUS METHOD
11/23 or later • Rated R

Psychoanalysis porn! Viggo Mortensen plays Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender is Carl Jung and Keira Knightley plays a woman with serious daddy issues. The film tracks the early years of psychoanalysis in the relationship of Freud and Jung, while Jung, who seriously wants to get with Knightley’s character, struggles with the ethics of doing so. Director David Cronenberg is fascinated with the intersection between sex and violence, so this probably isn’t for the kiddies. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Actor (Fassbender), Actress (Knightley) Supporting Actor (Mortensen) (LB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
11/23 • Rated R

In 1956 Marilyn Monroe filmed The Prince and the Showgirl. It was the first time the buxom, blue-eyed Marilyn (Michelle Williams) set foot in merry old England. Although she was on honeymoon with her husband, the temptress took a liking to Colin Cark (Eddie Redmayne), a lowly assistant on the set. Nearly 40 years later, the real Colin published his diary The Prince, The Showgirl and Me. There will be beautiful, albeit forlorn, glances from Marilyn in the dressing room mirror, dance routines from the original film, and sexual energy from this mercurial creature. Gracefully, Williams captures the pain behind that famous smirk — because it definitely wasn’t a smile. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Actor (Michelle Williams) (JB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

RAMPART
11/23 or later • Rated R

If the film trailers we found are any indication, Rampart may carry the most down-and-out razor-cutting raw emotion we’ve seen in a long time. Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) plays a corrupt Los Angeles cop on the verge of disintegration — or maybe he’s already there. Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi and Robin Wright also star. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Actor (Woody Harrelson). (JO) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

SHAME
11/23 or later • Rated NC-17

Sex addiction porn! Remember when an NC-17 film couldn’t even get a wide screening, let alone nominations for things? This story of a sex-addicted New York hotshot (Michael Fassbender), whose life of making hella money and sleeping with hella women is disrupted when his troubled sister (Carey Mulligan) comes to stay with him, probably won’t sweep the Oscars, but Fassbender has better odds to win here than in his role as Carl Jung (see page 31). OSCAR BUZZ: Best Actor (Fassbender), Supporting Actress (Mulligan) (LB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

TAKE SHELTER
12/2 or later • Rated R

A doting father, loving husband and man of God — with a family history of schizophrenia (Michael Shannon) — begins having apocalyptic visions. He takes steps to protect his family, by building a storm shelter and stocking up on canned food, but quickly his friends begin to wonder if the family might not need protecting from him. People are falling over themselves for this film (it won the Critic’s Grand Prix at Cannes) but the dark overtones don’t exactly make it Oscar bait. OSCAR BUZZ: Long-shot for Best Actor (Shannon) (LB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

THE SITTER
12/9 • Rated R

Jonah Hill is a babysitter. What else do you need to know? Okay, Jonah Hill is a suspended college kid who begins babysitting the neighbor’s rowdy ankle-biters. And then he takes them all to a party so he can see a lady friend. And somewhere along the way, menacing bad guys get involved. Also starring Ari Graynor and Sam Rockwell. (JO) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY
12/9 or later • Rated R

Adapted from John le Carre’s genre-redefining 1974 spy novel. Gary Oldman stars as a retired British agent asked to return to his old stomping grounds inside British Intelligence to ferret out a Soviet agent. Looks like a hell of a pot-boiler, great for spending time with your ex-military father-in-law without having to hear again about his run-ins with Charlie. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Actor (Oldman) (LB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
12/9 or later • Rated R

When you’re at your most stressed this holiday season, see this flick and think, “Well, at least my little demon isn’t a mass murderer.” After a troubled high schooler does something truly horrible, a mother (Tilda Swinton) has to come to terms with the job she did raising him. Almost everything Swinton does gets Oscar murmurs, but, like almost everything she does, this film probably gets a little too real for the Academy. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Actress (Swinton) (LB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS
12/16 • Not Yet Rated

There looks to be more firepower in director Guy Ritchie’s sequel to 2009’s Sherlock Holmes. Massive artillery, machine guns, more artillery. And the wit once again flies at high speed as Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law reprise Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson in their pursuit of nemesis Professor Moriarty. Also starring Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace and Jared Harris. (JO) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

CARNAGE
12/16 or later • Rated R

When one kid beats up another kid, the parents of each kid get together to try and resolve the situation. They end up getting into a big fight themselves. A comedy (!) by Roman Polanski (!!) starring amazingly good dramatic actors — Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz (!!!) — all playing deplorable people. We were into this movie before we heard Kate Winslet, a little drunk, say, “I am glad our son kicked the shit out of your son — and I wipe my ass with your human rights!” (LB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

THE IRON LADY
12/16 or later • Rated PG-13

If you can believe it, Meryl Streep — a chameleon of voice and character — has not won an Oscar in 28 years. She’s been passed over a dozen times since winning for Sophie’s Choice, and her role as former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady is her next shot at a trophy. The story, told through flashbacks, reflects on what Thatcher traded for her political power. Streep, from brief trailers, may play the exact same role as she did in Julie & Julia, but with less guffawing and fewer pats of butter. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Actress (Streep), Supporting Actor (Jim Broadbent), Original Screenplay (LS) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

YOUNG ADULT
12/16 • Rated R

A “psychotic prom queen bitch” turned young adult novelist (Charlize Theron) returns home after a nasty divorce to break up the seemingly happy marriage (with child) of her high school sweetheart and ends up forming a weird bond with a nerd from high school (Patton Oswalt). Director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody team up for the first time since a little film called Juno. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Actress (Theron), Supporting Actor (Oswalt), Original Screenplay (Cody) (LB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
12/21 • Rated PG

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson made an ambitious 3D kids movie. Enter tenacious reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his fiercely loyal dog Snowy — based on the classic Herge comic book characters. The duo circle the world and discover a model ship carrying an ancient secret — a unicorn of sorts — but the diabolical villain Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) thinks Tintin has stolen a priceless treasure from a pirate. Think Pirates of the Caribbean meets Indiana Jones, plus dogs. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Animated Feature (JB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
12/21 • Not Yet Rated

The Harry Potter of Scandinavian crime fiction, TGwtDT is finally, FINALLY getting a U.S. version. This is normally eye-roll territory but remember: director David Fincher’s past work (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac) and screenwriter Steve Zaillian’s (American Gangster, Gangs of New York, Schindler’s List) make them pretty well-suited to adapt a book about torture, murder and violence against women. Plus, Daniel Craig is a little hottie, isn’t he? OSCAR BUZZ: Moderate to long-shot for Best Cinematography (LB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

WAR HORSE
12/21 • Rated PG

Boy meets estranged horse. Boy falls in love with horse. Training and bonding montages ensue. And then England enters World War I… The Steven Spielberg film follows the broken bond of Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his horse Joey who is sold to the cavalry and sent into the trenches. Despite being too young to enlist, Albert heads to France to save his friend. This heart-string-tugger is based of the novel by Michael Morpurgo. Despite all the sentimental hoopla about friendship, bravery and the perils of war the movie doesn’t seem as predictable as one might think. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay (JB) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

WE BOUGHT A ZOO
12/21 • Not Yet Rated

Um, Matt Damon buys a zoo, but he doesn’t really know it’s a zoo until he gets there. And, uh, Scarlett Johansson apparently comes with the zoo. And they, um, struggle to maintain the zoo while Damon’s kids, uh, experience growing pains. Pretty sure something life-changing happens, too. Also starring Thomas Hayden Church and Elle Fanning. (JO) IMDb

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY MATT BOGUE
  • Illustration by Matt Bogue

EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE
12/21 • Not Yet Rated

In this adaptation of the Jonathan Safran Foer novel, a sensitive, smart, vegan musician child deals with the death of his father (Tom Hanks) in the 9/11 attacks by searching all over New York for information about a key the man left behind. If this doesn’t get a buttload of nominations, then the terrorists have won. OSCAR BUZZ: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Max von Sydow), Supporting Actress (Sandra Bullock), Director (Stephen Daldry), Adapted Screenplay (LB) IMDb

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