People are queuing up outside the Honey Baked Ham store. Christmas songs are already playing at the mall. And health gurus and fitness nuts are making their rounds on morning talk shows.
It's the holiday season, and all us movie geeks know what that means. It's time for the heavy hitters to hit the cineplexes.
Here's my short list of must sees for the remainder of this year.
The Golden Compass (December 7)
I've been anticipating this movie since I first heard about it two years ago. Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy is brilliant, and I just hope the first movie of the three is equally so.
Atonement (December 7)
I did not see the most recent Pride and Prejudice, but I definitely want to see this movie. Not because I have any appreciation for Keira Knightley's acting prowess, but I have a definite fascination with James McAvoy's. He has always proven himself a cut above the rest in every movie I've seen him in, and this looks like the perfect romantic period piece to see.
Grace is Gone (December 7, limited)
This was in my fall review, but it's release was pushed. So I'll just say what I said before. John Cusack has played tortured souls before, but they're usually expressive and animated tortured souls. In Grace is Gone, Cusack is a quiet, awkward man whose wife has just died in Iraq. He can't seem to find the right way to tell his daughters their mom is gone, so he takes them on a road trip instead. I think a box of tissue will be going with me to this one.
I am Legend (December 14)
Will Smith is possibly the most bankable actor in Hollywood, and I know the majority of his movies are popcorn fluff. With all that said, this movie looks great, and it comes from a great story as well. Plus, I'm always interested to see big actors act without anyone else around.
Juno (December 14, limited)
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, Juno (Ellen Page) decides to give the baby up for adoption to a wanting couple (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman). The cast alone (which includes Allison Janney, JK Simmons, Rainn Wilson, and Michael Cera) makes me want to see this. Watching the trailer sealed the deal.
Sweeney Todd (December 21)
So...Tim Burton made a musical about a murderous barber starring Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman, and Sasha Baron Cohen. Do I really need to say anymore?
There Will Be Blood (December 26)
When Daniel Day Lewis decides to take a break from his cobbling and make a movie, I always have to see it. P.T. Anderson hasn't done a theatrical release since Punch Drunk Love, so it will be very interesting to see these two off-beat talents working together. On top of that, it's based on an Upton Sinclair novel. I'm sold.