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Make room for 30-plus movies opening this holiday season

SHARE Make room for 30-plus movies opening this holiday season

Halloween was only supposed to take up a week or so of this fall's movie "season," but it felt like we got a couple of months' worth of Halloween instead — with more unpleasant tricks than real treats in there. "Saw V," "Quarantine," "Max Payne" and "The Haunting of Molly Hartley," anyone?

Luckily, this year's Holiday Movie Season could be the cure for these recent cinematic "blahs."

Typically, the holiday releases tend to be either the big crowd-pleasers or films that are being placed for last-second awards consideration. That's why you wind up with something like a remake of 1951 science-fiction classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" opening the same weekend as the Meryl Streep-Philip Seymour Hoffman drama "Doubt."

And of course, there are at least two, sure-to-be blockbusters: the movie version of Stephenie Meyer's best-selling vampire romance novel "Twilight" and the new James Bond spy thriller, "Quantum of Solace."

That latter film is being released this weekend and kicks off the holiday season, which has offerings for:


Both "Punisher: War Zone" and "The Spirit" are based on comic book "properties."


Romance tales and comedies pair Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon ("Four Christmases" ) and Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston ("Marley & Me" ), and reunite Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet ("Revolutionary Road" ).


Adam Sandler's latest is a fantasy titled "Bedtime Stories." There are also a pair of animated features — Disney's heroic dog comedy "Bolt" and "The Tale of Despereaux," which features Matthew Broderick as the voice of a brave rodent.

And again, there are films receiving some early awards talk, such as the movie version of the stage play "Frost/Nixon" and "Valkyrie," a World War II thriller starring Tom Cruise.

More than 30 movies are opening locally between now and the end of the year. Other upcoming releases will be covered in our early 2008 movie preview, which will appear in January.

Here is a listing of this year's holiday film releases, though these dates are subject to change:

NOV. 21

BOLT — Disney's latest cartoon stars John Travolta as the voice of a canine action hero.

THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS — Adaptation of the popular novel about a young German confronted with Holocaust horrors.

SYNECHDOCHE, NEW YORK — Oddball filmmaker Charlie Kaufman returns with this comedy-drama starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

TWILIGHT — Kristen Stewart stars in this adaptation of the first of Stephenie Meyer's popular vampire romance novels.

NOV. 26

AUSTRALIA — Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman team up in Baz Luhrmann's World War II epic romance.

FOUR CHRISTMASES — Comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon as a couple spending the holidays with bickering relatives.

TRANSPORTER 3 — Jason Statham reprises his role as a revenge-driven chauffeur n this action-packed sequel.

DEC. 5

BATTLE IN SEATTLE — Charlize Theron stars in this fact-based drama about the World Trade Organization riots.

I LOVED YOU FOR SO LONG — Psychological drama about an amnesiac (Kristin Scott Thomas) trying to recover her memories.

MILK — Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant's biographical drama about the slain, openly gay public official.

PUNISHER: WAR ZONE — Ray Stevenson assumes the role as the comic book vigilante in this action sequel.

DEC. 12

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL — Keanu Reeves plays an extraterrestrial harbinger of doom in this science-fiction remake.

NOTHING LIKE THE HOLIDAYS — Christmas brings out the worst in brothers John Leguizamo and Freddy Rodriguez in this comedy.

DEC. 19

JCVD — Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself in this comic thriller. French with subtitles.

SEVEN POUNDS — Will Smith re-teams with the "Pursuit of Happyness" filmmakers for this redemption drama.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE — Danny Boyle's romantic drama follows a Hindi game show contestant.

THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX — Animated fantasy about a meek mouse (voiced by Matthew Broderick) trying to muster his courage.

YES MAN — Jim Carrey returns with this comic fantasy about a pessimist who suddenly can't say no to anything or anyone.

DEC. 25

BEDTIME STORIES — Adam Sandler's tales to his niece and nephew become real in this comic fantasy.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON — Fantasy — loosely based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald story — starring Brad Pitt as a man who ages backwards.

FROST/NIXON — Ron Howard's adaptation of the stage play stars Michael Sheen and Frank Langella as the title characters.

MARLEY & ME — A new puppy helps newlyweds Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston work out their problems in this comedy.

THE SPIRIT — Will Eisner's comic book creation becomes a big-screen hero in this adaptation, from "Sin City" creator Frank Miller.

DEC. 26

VALKYRIE — A Nazi officer (Tom Cruise) plots to kill Adolph Hitler in Bryan Singer's fact-based World War II thriller.


THE BROTHERS BLOOM — This dark comedy follows con men (Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo) whose partnership is tested by a woman.

CADILLAC RECORDS — Fact-based musical drama about the creation of the influential Chess Records label. Adrien Brody stars.

CHRISTMAS TALE — Holiday-themed comedy about a bickering French family. French with subtitles.

DELGO — Long-delayed animated feature about a troubled teenager, voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.

DOUBT — Adaptation of the controversial stage play about religious abuses, starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

GRAN TORINO — Clint Eastwood directed and stars in this drama about a Korean War veteran trying to clean up his crime-ridden neighborhood.

LAST CHANCE HARVEY — Lovable loser Dustin Hoffman finds romance at his daughter's wedding in this comedy.

NOBEL SON — The makers of "Bottle Shock" return with this comic thriller starring Bryan Greenberg.

NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH — Fact-based thriller starring Kate Beckinsale as a journalist jailed for not disclosing her information sources.

THE READER — Lawyer Kate Winslet must defend her former lover in this thriller, set after World War II.

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD — "Titanic" stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet reunited for this drama about a struggling couple.

THE WRESTLER — Mickey Rourke is getting raves for his performance as an aging grappler in this drama.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com