Movies

If It's Thanksgiving, It Must Be Time For Bob's Annual Holiday-Movies Preview

Colin Firth and Julianne Moore in 'A Single Man' i

Romance, romance? Not quite. The upcoming Avatar may be the FX extravaganza of the season, but as Bob Mondello explains, Tom Ford's A Single Man (with Colin Firth and Julianne Moore) is giving James Cameron a run for his visual-trickery money. The Weinstein Co. hide caption

itoggle caption The Weinstein Co.
Colin Firth and Julianne Moore in 'A Single Man'

Romance, romance? Not quite. The upcoming Avatar may be the FX extravaganza of the season, but as Bob Mondello explains, Tom Ford's A Single Man (with Colin Firth and Julianne Moore) is giving James Cameron a run for his visual-trickery money.

The Weinstein Co.

Every year around this time, NPR's Bob Mondello looks ahead at the movies, big and small, that'll be jostling for box-office bucks and Oscar attention in the last few weeks of the year. Here are some observations to add to his preview piece from Thursday's All Things Considered:

Vampires and werewolves? Sooooo last weekend. Now the effects-movie faithful are waiting for the blue-tailed Na'vi — those 15-foot-tall dragon-riders who're defending their planet from invasion by ... um ... us, in James Cameron's Avatar.

Me, not so much. Not after the underwhelming 15 minutes of clips the studio released a while back. I mean, hope springs eternal, but the hype's getting exhausting.

Ditto for Nine: I've been salivating over that trailer — with Sophia Loren upstaging upstart divas Marion Cotillard and Penelope Cruz in a frenzy of quick-cuts — for so long that I'm starting to entertain the idea that it can't possibly be as gorgeous as it looks.

So the quieter stuff's sounding more and more interesting — in particular, two smaller pictures with not much in the way of production numbers or special-effects budgets:

Crazy Heart, with Jeff Bridges as a boozy, down-on-his-luck country singer. With an opening announced just a week ago, it's suddenly this year's The Wrestler, a late entry in the Oscar sweepstakes (and, presumably, a kick-ass soundtrack). Of course almost no one has seen it yet, so the buzz may be just much well-orchestrated ado over nothing.

A Single Man, the debut film from fashion designer Tom Ford, is also freshly on my radar screen, though for a different reason. An adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's landmark novel about a college professor mourning the death of his longtime lover in 1962 L.A., it stars Colin Firth as the bereaved academic, Matthew Goode as the late lover (in flashbacks, presumably), Julianne Moore as the Firth character's best friend, and Nicholas Hoult as a student who looks much like the lover.

What's got some folks exercised is a brewing brouhaha about the film's don't-ask-don't-tell-ized ads.

The Weinstein Company picked up the film just hours after it screened at the Toronto Film Festival, then recut its wordless original trailer (that's the one above) to substitute laudatory review quotes where Ford's version had featured shots of a male-male kiss, or of men eyeing each other meaningfully. The rest was left more or less intact — so in the new trailer (it's at the bottom of this post), it looks as if the central relationship is between Firth and Moore, not Firth and his male co-stars.

Of course, a similar approach didn't hurt Brokeback Mountain — half that trailer was shots of the men with their wives. A Single Man would doubtless be happy to follow in its box-office bootsteps.

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