The December 2007 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas
atonement.jpg
Keria Knightley in Atonement
As December creeps in, it becomes clear that this year’s Oscar race is going to be exceedingly dull. Where’s the Dreamgirls to get all the hype but no Best Picture nod? Where’s the Pan’s Labyrinth to make us all really, really uncomfortable when that guy sews his own face shut? Still, it’s an interesting month, and that’s a lot more than we’ll probably get in January.
December 7
THE GOLDEN COMPASS
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Not Narnia.
WILL IT SUCK?
Philip Pullman, who wrote the His Dark Materials series of novel upon which this is based, has said it was an attempt, in part, to counterpoint the Christian themes in the C.S. Lewis series. However, most of the anti-religious stuff got nixed by New Line in the adaptation. So much so, that writer/director Chris Weitz initially walked before coming back when things didn’t work out with his replacement.
Assuming that drama didn’t blunt Weitz’s mad skillz, we could be in for a surprisingly good genre treat, if his work on About a Boy is any indication.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
No one is taking it on this weekend, but the following weekend, the one-two punch of Alvin and Legend could wipe out its demo. $145mil.
WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Bound to get its share of technical nods. I mean, it’s got fighting polar bears. You can’t beat that.
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ATONEMENT
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Little girl totally fucks over this couple, then tries to make up for it later in life through and act of…um…there’s a word for this.
WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is sick, topping the decent job director Joe Wright did with Pride and Prejudice (also with Keria Knightley). In addition, screenwriter Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons, The Quiet American) knows how to adapt.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Has the best buzz out of an extremely crowded pack. $29mil.
WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
And how. Looking to get all the major nods, including a second nod for Knightley.
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GRACE IS GONE
(Delayed from October)
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Man (John Cusack) delays telling his two daughters that their mother has died in Iraq by taking them on a road trip.
WILL IT SUCK?

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