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Holiday Treats From Hollywood

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Holiday Treats From Hollywood

Movies

Holiday Treats From Hollywood

Holiday Treats From Hollywood

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NPR's Bob Mondello offers a selective preview of Hollywood's brightly wrapped holiday baubles. On tap: two films from Steven Spielberg, Ralph Finnes' directing debut and others.

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

Last weekend, vampires and penguins took over the cineplex. Thanksgiving has brought a Muppet invasion. So, what next? Well, there are 37 days left in 2011, and almost that many movies waiting to open. So, we asked Bob Mondello for a select preview.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: How do you like your Steven Spielberg? Classy and epic, like "Saving Private Ryan," or raucous and comic, like "Indiana Jones"? Actually, this year, you're OK either way because in the space of a single week, Spielberg will open two potential blockbusters. The "Indiana Jones"-ish one is a treasure hunt based on a comic book: "The Adventures of Tintin."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN")

MONDELLO: It's Spielberg's first foray into 3-D motion capture technology.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN")

MONDELLO: The results are pretty gorgeous - nonstop action on several continents, not to mention in the air and at sea. And a mere four days after "Tintin" opens, the director will be back with a drama that's a bit more hooves on the ground, as it were. A battlefield saga set in World War I about a British youngster and a noble steed.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "WAR HORSE")

MONDELLO: "War Horse" is also a hit play on Broadway at the moment, and Spielberg's not the only one who's looking stageward for the holidays. There will be star-studded Shakespeare. "Coriolanus," which will mark the directing debut of Ray Fiennes, and the Broadway smash, "Gods of Carnage," will hit the screen as just "Carnage," a comedy in which two couples meet to discuss a fight between their 11-year-old sons.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "CARNAGE")

MONDELLO: By the end, director Roman Polanski will have these folks behaving even more childishly than their kids - any more childish, in fact, and you'd need to call a sitter, though probably not the one from "The Sitter," who's lazy and irresponsible, as played by Jonah Hill. Other misbehaving grown-ups include a mean-spirited writer of teen fiction in "Young Adults," who returns to her hometown to reclaim her high school boyfriend.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "YOUNG ADULTS")

MONDELLO: As written by Diablo Cody and played by Charlize Theron, this is a woman on a mission. Men try to stop her, at their peril. And that's something you might also say of men who come up against Maggie Thatcher, at least as she's pictured in the film, "Iron Lady." We meet the British prime minister when she's in her (unintelligible), remembering when she was first being groomed to run for elective office.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "IRON LADY")

MONDELLO: Meryl Streep transforming herself again.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "IRON LADY")

MONDELLO: You can't hand Streep an Oscar nomination just yet, though, because Glenn Close has an even bigger transformation up her sleeve. In "Albert Nobbs," she plays a woman who managed for 30 years in 19th century Ireland to pass as a man.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ALBERT NOBBS")

MONDELLO: As long as we're introducing possible Best Actress nominees, let's include the English language "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," Rooney Mara.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO")

MONDELLO: That other voice is Daniel Craig, and they're directed by David Fincher, who proved with "Zodiac" and "Seven" that he knows his way around a suspense film. There are quite a lot of those in the holiday mix, including a fresh version of an espionage classic by John Le Carre.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY")

MONDELLO: Gary Oldman plays George Smiley, stepping into shoes once occupied by Alec Guinness. For those who prefer a pop take on covert operations, Tom Cruise and his "Impossible" missions force are back in "Ghost Protocol," primed presumably not to become ghosts.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL")

MONDELLO: Oops, well, that's awkward. Guess they're on their own. OK. Let's shift gears for a sec. This being Hollywood's prestige season when everyone's jockeying for awards consideration, the art house crowd will have plenty to choose from, including a separation about a family in Iran faced with a life-altering decision. "Shame," in which Michael Fassbender plays a sex addict whose life is in crisis. In "The Land of Blood and Honey," an ethnic cleansing drama that finds Angelina Jolie not in front of the camera but behind it as both writer and director, and "Pariah," the story of an African-American teen who's growing up lesbian in Brooklyn.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "PARIAH")

MONDELLO: Her parents don't think it's so cool when she explains the title pariah. Other stories dealing with family crises include "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," based on a novel about the aftermath of 9/11, "We Need to Talk about Kevin," in which Tilda Swinton tries to understand why her teenage son went on a killing spree, "We Bought a Zoo," based on a memoir about a family that, well, buys a zoo. And though I hesitate to mention this one - the saga of a long-planned family cruise ship vacation that goes terribly awry.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "CHIP-WRECKED")

MONDELLO: "Chip-Wrecked" with singing chipmunks. Not the way you want to spend the holidays? Well, there are other horrors at the cineplex - alien invaders, abandoned children, a film directed by Madonna. Happily, there are also heroes you can count on. Among them, Sherlock Holmes and Watson in "A Game of Shadows."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "A GAME OF SHADOWS")

MONDELLO: No pressure at all, except maybe at the box office. I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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