- Title: VARIOUS: "Australia" opens holiday movie season
- Date: 26th November 2008
- Summary: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (RECENT) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) SCOTT MANTZ, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD FILM CRITIC, SAYING: "Usually when movies move around so much like that, it's not a good sign. But early buzz is that the film is a very good thriller and that we're actually going to see Tom Cruise do the type of movie that he hasn't done in quite a while, like a "Mission Impossible" film by way of like "The Dirty Dozen."
- Reuters ID: LVA55UFCQDS9YJPNWMRWE5R7QC10
- Duration: 00:00:18
- Story Text: The holiday season is upon us, and for Hollywood, that means its time to shine. The period between the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and Christmas is usually packed full of high-profile releases, with many studios marketing their Oscar-contending movies. This year is no exception, as Hollywood goes full tilt with A-listers like Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Will Smith.
The season's highlight, and one of the most talked about films, is Baz Luhrmann's "Australia." Starring Kidman and fellow Aussie Hugh Jackman, the movie is an epic love story - with a run time of nearly three hours - set in the Australian outback. While early reviews have been mixed, Access Hollywood film critic Scott Mantz says that Luhrmann films tend to fair pretty well.
"It looks and feels like a "Gone With the Wind" epic period romance. Baz Luhrmann is a very stylish director. He doesn't make a lot of movies, but the ones that he does make, "Moulin Rouge,"
"Romeo and Juliet," are very, very stylish and popular films."
"Australia" will ride into theaters on Wednesday (November 26).
Brad Pitt is getting some critical acclaim for his role in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." The film is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story about a man who is born as an 80-year-old and ages backward.
"Button" opens on December 25.
Controversy and bad buzz have dogged Tom Cruise's "Valkyrie,"
set to open on December 26. In addition to reshoots and on-set injuries, the film moved its release date three different times.
"Usually when movies move around so much like that, it's not a good sign," said Mantz.
"But early buzz is that the film is a very good thriller and that we're actually going to see Tom Cruise do the type of movie that he hasn't done in quite a while, like a "Mission Impossible" film by way of like "The Dirty Dozen."
Probably the season's most hotly anticipated match up is in the film "Revolutionary Road," which reunites "Titanic" stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. But don't expect the duo to reunite their ship-sinking passion: the movie follows the mundane life of a couple trapped in marriage 1950's suburbia.
"It's a very sad story, but the early word is it is a very prestigious film," said Mantz.
"Revolutionary Road," also opens on December 26.
Film favorite Will Smith will be out for the holidays, too. The actor, however, puts aside the superheroes and special effects for a melancholy drama about an IRS agent driven to change the lives of seven strangers.
"Seven Pounds" opens on December 19.
Director Ron Howard's Oscar hopeful hits theaters on December 12 - "Frost/Nixon" follows the true stories of U.S. President Richard Nixon and TV interviewer David Frost as they lead up to their historic televised interview.
But despite all the hype surrounding the year's most heavily saturated movie period, will audiences still be willing to drop the cash to see them given the world's harsh economic crisis? Mantz says absolutely, citing that movies are still the cheapest form of entertainment and provide a little escapism during rough times.
"The box office this year has run neck and neck with last year, and I think because of the way the box office has been lately, it's just going to keep on going through end of the year. You've got a lot of big movies opening and they're going to deliver," said Mantz.
Studios are hoping he's right, and to further bring in the buck, are releasing blockbuster-style films that have full family appeal. Walt Disney will put out the Adam Sandler kids flick "Bedtime Stories" on December 25, and Twentieth Century Fox will counter their "Australia" epic with the sci-fi remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" on December 12.
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