Do you see all of these movies that are out for the Holiday? It is ridiculous. And the thing is, they are almost all really good ones. I have seen Rocky Balboa and give it a 9 because it really brought back that underdog feeling. I liked it a lot. And I have seen Night at the Museum and thought it was a really fun family movie with really good special effects, giving it a 7. And Children of Men I gave a 7 out of 10 as well. It was a really intense film with some real quality acting. Letters from Iwo Jima and The Good Sheperd are getting Oscar buzz, and We Are Marshall looks like a good football movie. I will be catching We are Marshall this weekend, as well as Pursuit of Happyness from last weekend. Then there is Black Christmas, which looks like junk, so skip that one and go see anything else on this list.
Rocky Balboa - The greatest underdog story of our time is back for one final round of the Academy Award-winning “Rocky” franchise, former heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa steps out of retirement and back into the ring, pitting himself against a new rival in a dramatically different era. After a virtual boxing match declares Rocky Balboa the victor over current champion Mason “The Line” Dixon, the legendary fighter’s passion and spirit are reignited. But when his desire to fight in small, regional competitions is trumped by promoters calling for a rematch of the cyber-fight, Balboa must weigh the mental and physical risks of a high profile exhibition match against his need to be in the ring.
Letters from Iwo Jima - Sixty-one years ago, U.S. and Japanese armies met on Iwo Jima. Decades later, several hundred letters are unearthed from that stark island’s soil. The letters give faces and voices to the men who fought there, as well as the extraordinary general who led them, Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe). With little defense other than sheer will and the volcanic rock of the island itself, Gen. Kuribayashi’s unprecedented tactics transform what was predicted to be a quick and bloody defeat into nearly 40 days of heroic and resourceful combat.
In an effort to explore an event that continues to resonate with both cultures, Clint Eastwood was haunted by the sense that making only one film, “Flags of Our Fathers,” would be telling only half the story. With this unprecedented dual film project, shot back-to-back to be released in sequence, Eastwood seeks to reveal the battle of Iwo Jima–and, by implication, the war in the Pacific–as a clash not only of arms but of cultures.
The Good Sheperd – The tumultuous early history of the Central Intelligence Agency is viewed through the prism of one man’s life in “The Good Shepherd,” an espionage drama starring Academy Award® winners Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and Robert De Niro and directed by Robert De Niro.
Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) understands the value of secrecy-discretion and commitment to honor have been embedded in him since childhood. As an eager, optimistic student at Yale, he is recruited to join the secret society Skull and Bones, a brotherhood and breeding ground for future world leaders. Wilson’s acute mind, spotless reputation and sincere belief in American values render him a prime candidate for a career in intelligence, and he is soon recruited to work for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) during WWII.
As one of the covert founders of the CIA, working in the heart of an organization where duplicity is required and nothing is taken at face value, Edward’s’ idealism is steadily eroded by a growing suspicious nature, reflective of a world settling into the long paranoia of the Cold War. As his methods are adopted as standard operating procedure, Wilson develops into one of the Agency’s veteran operatives, all the while combating his KGB counterpart. However, his steely dedication to his country comes at an ever-increasing price. Not even his wife Clover (Angelina Jolie) or his beloved son can divert Wilson from a path that will force him to sacrifice everything in pursuit of this job.
“The Good Shepherd” is directed by Robert De Niro, written by Eric Roth and produced by Morgan Creek’s James G. Robinson and Tribeca Productions’ Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro. Universal Pictures distributes domestically, with Morgan Creek handling foreign distribution.
Night at the Museum – The hallowed halls of the Natural History Museum are lined with the most amazing things – wild-eyed prehistoric creatures, fierce ancient warriors, long lost tribes, African animals and history’s legendary heroes – all frozen forever in time. Or… are they? In the action-adventure-comedy, “Night at the Museum,” the brand new night guard at the Natural History Museum is about to discover that when the visitors go home at the end of the day, the real adventure begins – as the museum’s stuffed, waxed and well-preserved residents come out to play.
The fantastical adventure kicks off when Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), a down-and-out dreamer whose imaginative ideas have never paid off, finds himself in desperate need of a job. Larry has always believed he was destined for big things. But he has no idea just how literally gargantuan and hairy a challenge he will face when he grudgingly accepts the supposedly menial graveyard shift as a security guard at the Natural History Museum. On his very first night on the job, Larry is handed an over-sized flashlight and a dog-eared instruction manual, then left all alone in the eerily quiet, cavernous museum. At least, he thinks he’s alone.
But wait, what’s that noise? To his utter astonishment and disbelief, Larry watches in shock and awe as, one by one, the primeval beasts and storied icons that surround him stir magically to life – and total havoc ensues. Now, as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Attila The Hun carve a swath of destruction through the marble corridors, and lions and monkeys prowl the fragile exhibits, Larry is at a loss as to how to get the museum back under control. At his wit’s end, Larry must recruit the help of historical heavyweight Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) just to survive the night. Facing the possibility of losing his job and letting down his son Nick yet again, Larry must wage an incredible battle to save the museum, hoping to become at last the bold, adventurous dad he’s always wanted to be. The man who’s been forever waiting for his moment of greatness – just found it.
We are Marshall – “We Are Marshall” tells an inspiring true story set in Huntington, West Virginia, a small town steeped in the rich tradition of college football. For decades, players, coaches, fans and families have come together to cheer on Marshall University’s “Thundering Herd.” For this team and this community, Marshall football is more than just a sport, it’s a way of life. But on a fateful night in 1970, while traveling back to Huntington after a game in North Carolina, 75 members of Marshall’s football team and coaching staff were killed in a plane crash. As those left behind struggled to cope with the devastating loss of their loved ones, the grieving families found hope and strength in the leadership of Jack Lengyel, a young coach who was determined to rebuild Marshall’s football program and in the process helped to heal a community.
Black Christmas – In “Black Christmas” a sorority house is terrorized by a killer who makes frightening telephone calls before murdering the sorority sisters during the Christmas break.
Children of Men – “Children of Men” envisages a world one generation from now that has fallen into anarchy on the heels of an infertility defect in the population. The world’s youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction.
Set against a backdrop of London torn apart by violence and warring nationalistic sects, “Children of Men” follows disillusioned bureaucrat Theo (Owen) as he becomes an unlikely champion of Earth’s survival. When the planet’s last remaining hope is threatened, this reluctant activist is forced to face his own demons and protect her from certain peril.
Directed and co-written by acclaimed filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “Y tu mamá también”), “Children of Men” also stars Julianne Moore as the leader of an underground opposition group and Michael Caine as Jasper.
The film is produced by Marc Abraham & Eric Newman (“Spy Game,” “Dawn of the Dead”), Hilary Shor & Tony Smith (“Eye of the Beholder,” “Beautopia”) and Iain Smith (“Alexander,” “Cold Mountain”). It is adapted for the screen by Cuarón and Timothy J. Sexton (“Live from Baghdad”).