What's coming to the big screen this holiday season

The Fresno BeeNovember 22, 2012 

Brush off your Cabbage Patch Kids, get out your Bangles album and squeeze some air into your Reebok Pumps. The ’80s are back – at least when it comes to this year’s holiday movie releases.

Just think about the lineup of films in movie theaters now and scheduled by Christmas: A remake of the 1984 classic “Red Dawn” opens this week and “Wreck-It Ralph,” which deals with characters from popular arcade games from three decades ago, is a hit for Disney. James Bond – who spied his way through five movies in the ’80s – returned to the big screen, plus coming is a film version of “Les Miserables,” a musical that debuted on Broadway in 1987. Even Barbra Streisand, who starred in the ’80s films “Nuts” and “Yentl,” is back with “Guilt Trip.”

For those of you who are less nostalgic, you can go see the finale of the “Twilight” film saga (if you haven’t already) and the beginning of the new “Hobbit” franchise.

Here’s a look at some of the films scheduled to open this holiday season:

Nov. 30

• “Killing Them Softly”

Stars: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins

Director: Andrew Dominik

Plot: An enforcer must track down three crooks who robbed the Mob.

What to expect: Box office totals will be driven by Pitt’s appeal.

Dec. 7

• “Playing for Keeps”

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Jessica Biel, Uma Therman, Gerard Butler

Director: Gabriele Muccino

Plot: A man’s attempt to reconnect with his son gets sidetracked by a coaching job.

What to expect: Will fill the void of romantic comedies.

Dec. 14

• “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Stars: Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Martin Freeman

Director: Peter Jackson

Plot: Bilbo Baggins joins a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.

What to expect: It will be a monumental launch for this film franchise.

Dec. 19

• “Zero Dark Thirty”

Stars: Joel Edgerton, Kyle Chandler, Chris Pratt, Harold Perrineau

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Plot: Navy SEAL Team 6 searches for Osama Bin Laden.

What to expect: Could be the surprise hit of the holiday season.

Dec. 21

• “This is 40”

Stars: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, John Lithgow, Megan Fox

Director: Judd Apatow

Plot: A look at the lives of Pete and Debbie a few years after “Knocked Up.”

What to expect: Hard to say since Apatow’s humor is hit-and-miss.

• “Jack Reacher”

Stars: Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Rosamund Pike

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Plot: A detective looks into the sniper shooting of five people.

What to expect: Tom Cruise is a safe bet when he’s not in a musical.

Dec. 25

• “Les Miserables”

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried

Director: Tom Hooper

Plot: Ex-prisoner Jean Valjean’s life changes when he agrees to care for a factory worker’s young daughter.

What to expect: The popularity of the stage production will make this a box office hit.

• “Django Unchained”

Stars: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Plot: A slave works with a German bounty hunter to track killers.

What to expect: It’s a Tarantino film, so expect this pre-Civil War film to be action-packed and bloody.

• “Parental Guidance”

Stars: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Tom Everett Scott, Marisa Tomei

Director: Andy Fickman

Plot: A grandfather’s parenting skills are tested.

What to expect: Crystal and Midler should produce plenty of laughs.

• “Guilt Trip”

Stars: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Yvonne Strahovski

Director: Anne Fletcher

Plot: An inventor and his mother go on a road trip.

What to expect: It all depends on how much chemistry Rogen and Streisand have.

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