10 Movies to Watch in December, 2007

There Will Be Blood MovieDecember. It is the perfect month for movies. It is in this month where some of the best movies of the year are released (though for many, they don’t arrive until January). Below is a list of my top ten most anticipated movies of December 2007, in reverse order. These movies may be Oscar contenders, or they may just look entertaining, but they are the films I’m most excited about. Granted, some smaller release pictures may pop up that I can’t anticipate, but take it or leave it.

10. The Bucket List

The Bucket List doesn’t look particularly interesting to me, but you can never rule out the combination of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman come December. The movie has the chance of being this year’s As Good As it Gets, as it looks to be a blend of comedy and drama. The plot probably involves at least one of the characters dying at the end, but having a blast and hitting on young girls up until that point. The feel good movie of the year? Maybe.

9. Aliens vs. Predator Requiem

I definitely didn’t think this one would ever make any top ten lists. The first Alien vs. Predator was a God-awful, laughable mess, but I have to admit that its sequel, Aliens vs Predator Requiem (what does “Requiem” indicate?), with a different director and different cast, looks a lot better. The movie appears to be a lot grittier, a little more grounded in reality (as much as it can be), and a whole lot bloodier. Unlike the first one, the studio wisely made this sequel R-rated, which means a lot more gore. Aliens, Predators and gore is enough for me… I’m sold!

8. Charlie Wilson’s War

A big Oscar contender lies in Charlie Wilson’s War, a movie starring Tom Hanks as a politician who starts his own war and relief mission. The movie is directed by Mike Nichols, who hasn’t really proven himself as an especially powerful director with a few notable exceptions (The Graduate and Closer) come to mind. More intriguing to audiences will be that the movie is written by Aaron Sorkin, best known for “The West Wing”. The cast isn’t too shabby, either… Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman and others come to mind… Overall, this has the potential to be very good, though the trailers have been a little underwhelming. While it looks good, is it good enough to be an Oscar contender? That remains to be seen…

7. Cassandra’s Dream

Fans may be tired of Woody Allen films, but Allen has proven that when he stays away from comedy, he can deliver fresh and meaningful stuff. Following Match Point, a movie I consider to be excellent, Cassandra’s Dream is about two brothers (Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor) who get hired by a relative (Tom Wilkinson) to kill some dude. The movie is a thriller/drama about decisions that can affect the rest of your life. The movie looks dark and relatively gritty, and I’m definitely looking forward to this one.

6. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Love it or hate it? Really good or really bad? This one’s going to be divisive, and is definitely one of the riskier pictures of Tim Burton’s career. Then again, are movies really risky when they look like a Burton film and star Johnny Depp as a really weird and twisted character? It’s been a while since we’ve seen Burton and Depp together, and Depp looking like something closer to his Edward Scissorhand days, and that’s refreshing. Then again, it’s a musical, and that will be a challenge for Burton. Basically, this movie could be really good or really bad, and there’s only one way to find out.

5. The Golden Compass

The movie was heavily promoted over the summer, but since then I really haven’t seen much if any advertisements for this fantasy film, but New Line is certainly looking to capitalize on a lack of fantasy kids films. New Line has to be worried as several films from the same genre have struggled this year, with exception to Harry Potter, of course. The movie looks pretty good, and is one of the few blockbuster-type films this year. Reviews may make or break this one, however.

4. I Am Legend

Will Smith. Action. Sci-fi. It’s a pretty safe bet, even when Smith is the only actor on screen most of the time. The teaser trailer was top notch and quite creepy; the later trailers have revealed the mutated humans (zombies?) to be fast-moving CGI creatures, which have dampened my excitement a little bit. The special effects aside, the movie still looks like a lot of fun, and even if it isn’t a masterpiece, Smith has proven that he can make even so-so movies entertaining (I, Robot comes to mind).

3. Juno

This movie has more Oscar buzz around it than most, and could end up being the Little Miss Sunshine of 2007. My brother has already seen it and says it’s great, and I tend to trust his judgment 95% of the time. The previews are funny and quirky, and considering that there seems to be a real lack of quality comedies right now (Lars and the Real Girl and The Savages being comparable exceptions), this may find both critical and box office success.

2. Atonement

Another film with a lot of Oscar buzz, Atonement has received some great reviews, stars Kiera Knightley (always a plus) and is directed by the guy who brought us the most recent adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, which was surprisingly well done. That combination, served up with another period piece story about two lovers who are betrayed by a jealous young girl, has me intrigued to see exactly what this movie is going to be like. Thus, Atonement is high on my list.

1. There Will Be Blood

This is my personal pick for Best Picture. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but if There Will Be Blood is not worthy of a Best Picture Oscar, I will be disappointed. I realize I’m setting myself up for disappointment here. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia) and starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine), the movie looks absolutely stellar. It’s going to be dark, gritty and powerful if I have anything to do with it, and even from the previews it appears there are Oscar nominations in sight for both Day-Lewis and young Dano. At the very least, Dano’s performance could be a break-out one.

Note: Two movies that would appear on this list if not for the fact that they are released in late November, not December, are The Savages (Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman in a comedy-drama) and Awake (a B-grade thriller that happens to look pretty entertaining and star Jessica Alba).

By Erik Samdahl
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