It’s exactly a week until Christmas and if you’re lucky, this is your last week at work until the holiday. But since most of us aren’t, there is still an easy way to get away for a while. Yup, you guessed it; go see a movie! This week, most people will be clamoring to see “Avatar” since “Crazy Heart” and “The Young Victoria” are only opening in limited release and the only other movie coming out is “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” Not that I’m insinuating anything about which movies are better … oh wait, I’m totally doing that. But you never listen to my advice anyway. Whatever, I totally warned you about that movie.
The Movie: “Did You Hear About the Morgans?”
The Trailer: When a New York couple on the rocks (Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker) witnesses a murder, they’re forced to enter the Witness Protection Program and start a new life together in Wyoming. There, they have to learn to live like cowboys and, hopefully, because it’s a romantic comedy, they remember what they used to like about each other.
The Hitch: The premise has potential, but the trailer looks pretty unfunny, outside of that line about the mayonnaise. Mary Steenburgen looks like she might be the best part as the Sarah Palin-esque woman of town. I adore Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker, but it’s hard to imagine them having onscreen chemistry. Hopefully this movie will prove me wrong. And I usually love movies filmed in New Mexico, especially when they’re pretending it’s somewhere else!
The Movie: “Avatar”
The Trailer: James Cameron’s newest $300+ million venture explores the 3-D, CG-rendered fictional planet of Pandora. Corporate and military people are trying to mine a rare mineral that has the potential to fix their energy crisis, but they’ve got to get the trust of the native Na’vi tribe before they can rip up their land. So, they start an avatar program and, kind of like “The Matrix,” humans control a body (in this case half human and half Na’vi) to reason with the natives. A wheelchair-bound Marine, Jake (Sam Worthington), becomes the newest avatar star and bonds with the Na’vi leader’s daughter (Zoë Saldana) who teaches him everything she knows. Jake goes rogue and joins the natives to fight.
The Hitch: Cameron started writing the outline for this movie 15 years ago and was told by an F/X company that they were years away from the technology he needed. With time and money, it’s finally come together. And it is guaranteed to be 2.5 hours of a carefully created fantasy world. The story and the script might not be up to par, but no one is going for those things; they’re going because it’s a cinematic feat of computer-generated magic.
The Movie: “Crazy Heart”
The Trailer: Out on limited release this week, Jeff Bridges stars as Bad Blake, a once famous alcoholic country singer who’s wasted his talent, marriages, and health. In Santa Fe (woo hoo!), Blake meets wannabe journalist and single mom Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who falls for the guy. He works on his comeback, running into his protége, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), and finding another song along the way.
The Hitch: The country music was written by Stephen Bruton and Bone Burnett (who did “O Brother, Where Art Thou), so that promises to be pretty fantastic. This is a role perfectly suited for Jeff Bridges’ lack of pretension. And being a Santa Fe girl, it’s pretty exciting to see a movie set in familiar bars, around adobe and purple sunsets. Hopefully, the limited release won’t be too limited!
The Movie: “The Young Victoria”
The Trailer: Also out in limited release, “The Young Victoria” stars Emily Blunt as the young queen, and follows her from youth to reign. She’s forced to choose between Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) and her cousin, Prince Albert (Rupert Friend), but neither is totally trust-worthy since Melbourne is manipulative and Albert is reporting back to his uncle, the king of Belgium. She marries Albert (obviously) and deals with everyone’s trickery, assassination attempts and insecurities, and learns to find the balance she needs to rule.
The Hitch: Superficially, Emily Blunt is beautiful; though she seems perfect for the role despite said beauty. And the costumes are fantastic. More than anything though, as a lover of words, I respect a good script even though so many movies seem to disregard this as an important element. This one is written by Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park”) who manages to maintain historical accuracy while building a beautiful story of love, personal strength, betrayal, and all the other things necessary for greatness.