by HELEN GEIB
Of the nine films scheduled for wide release in December, only two are not a sequel, a remake, an adaptation- or both an adaptation and a sequel or remake. One of the original scripts is the highly stylized, Asian film-inflected actioner The Warrior’s Way, opening tomorrow. The other is writer-director James Brooks’ (As Good As It Gets, Broadcast News) romantic-comedy How Do You Know, starring Reese Witherspoon.
There’s no Christmas-themed release this year, but the family film market is well covered with the third Narnia film, the TRON update/sequel, the live action Yogi Bear, and for Christmas weekend Gulliver’s Travels.
The trailer for Gulliver’s Travels promises a tongue-in-cheek contemporary take on the classic, built around star Jack Black- and might prove the most original of the month’s releases, despite its status as adaptation. TRON: Legacy meanwhile offers two Jeff Bridges for the price of one, state of the art digital effects, and twentysomething rising star Garrett Hedlund (Friday Night Lights, Four Brothers).
Bridges competes against himself within TRON in a dual role as mortal enemies (one human, one digital avatar with a mind of its own) and on movie screens across America as star of Joel and Ethan Coen’s new adaptation of True Grit, in the role popularized by John Wayne.
True Grit competes with latest-sequel-in-an-already-tired-franchise Little Fockers. The outcome of the quality showdown is predetermined; the outcome of the box office showdown is likely to depress cineastes nationwide.
Last but not least is The Tourist, with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in picturesque old Europe. A remake of a little known recent French thriller and directed by a German with a seriously long name, it offers a side of old Hollywood-style glamor with its double dose of star power.
December 3– The Warrior’s Way