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Holiday movie preview

Christina Aguilera in Burlesque

Christina Aguilera in Burlesque Photo Credit: Christina Aguilera stars in "Burlesque." (Courtesy of Sony Pictures)

As we enter the final stretch of 2010, the studios are trotting out the big guns, from Oscar heavyweights (“Black Swan” and “The King’s Speech”) and top director fare (the Coen brothers’ “True Grit” and Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere”) to droolicious eye candy (“Tron: Legacy” and “The Warrior’s Way”). There’s also an impressive number of female-led flicks (“Burlesque,” “The Tourist”). Here are 30 movies to look forward to.

NOV. 24

A small-town girl (Christina Aguilera) rises to stardom at a glitzy burlesque club owned by a larger-than-life diva (Cher). Ah, the old one-way-ticket-to-L.A. tale. It never gets old.

Love & Other Drugs
A flirtatious Viagra salesman played by Jake Gyllenhaal meets a headstrong woman played by Anne Hathaway. Directed by Edward Zwick.  

In Disney’s animated take on “Rapunzel,” a dashing thief absconds to a high tower in the forest, where he meets his match in a sassy teenager with 70 feet of hair.

After 10 years in the slammer, a man (Dwayne Johnson) is on a mission to avenge the death of his brother, who was murdered during a bank heist gone awry. It sounds like the Rock has returned from toothfairy-land.

NOV. 26

The King’s Speech
Colin Firth has been drumming up Oscar buzz for his role as the stuttering King George VI. Director Tom Hooper chronicles the king’s relationship with a speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush).

DEC. 3

I Love You Phillip Morris
The long-delayed gay romance is finally seeing the light of day. Jim Carrey plays real-life con artist Steven Jay Russell, who fell in love with a prison inmate (Ewan McGregor) and went to great lengths to reunite with his lover outside bars.

The Warrior’s Way
Martial arts moves meet Western showdowns in this tricked-out action film about a ninja assassin who leaves his clan to start a new life in America. When his foes track him down, the battle of ninjas and frontiersmen begins. Starring Jang Dong Gun, Kate Bosworth and Geoffrey Rush.

Black Swan
Darren Aronofsky delves into the dark side of the New York City ballet world, casting Natalie Portman as a ballerina in competition with a new dancer (Mila Kunis) for a lead role. As the rivalry deepens, things get twisted.

Barney’s Version
“Barney’s Version” tracks the ups and downs of Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) during the course of four decades, through three marriages and many heart-to-hearts with his father (Dustin Hoffman).

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
If you’re seeking an antidote to fake holiday cheer, look no further than this darkly comic film. When an archaeological dig turns up the body of Santa Claus, it turns out that Old
St. Nick is one seriously twisted fellow.

All Good Things
Based on the story of alleged murderer Robert Durst, “All Good Things” stars
Ryan Gosling as a real estate heir whose secret dark side alarms his wife (Kirsten Dunst). Seeing as Durst’s first wife disappeared in the 1980s, you know this movie can’t end well.

DEC. 10

The Tourist
When an unsuspecting American tourist (Johnny Depp) goes to Italy to get over a breakup, a hot, mysterious woman (Angelina Jolie) pulls him into a high-stakes case of mistaken identity. Gunfights, coy banter and lots of sexual tension ensue.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
In this third movie installment of the Narnia chronicles, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are transported to Narnia via a framed painting. They join King Caspian for adventures aboard the Dawn Treader.

The Fighter
Mark Wahlberg stars as real-life boxer “Irish” Micky Ward, who staged a 1990s comeback with the help of his troubled but talented half-brother (Christian Bale).

The Tempest
In this Shakespeare adaptation, Helen Mirren stars as Prospera (gender-bent from Prospero), an island castaway who seeks vengeance on her foes by shipwrecking their vessel using supernatural powers. With Julie Taymor in the director’s seat, brace yourselves for a visual spectacle.

The Company Men

When three men (Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones) lose their corporate jobs, they’re forced to shore up their identities as family men and re-evaluate life without comfy salaries.

DEC. 17

Tron: Legacy
“Tron: Legacy,” the eye candy movie of the season, takes place 20 years after Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) first got sucked into ENCOM’s server. Kevin and his son (Garrett Hedlund) are now back in the cyber universe, this time with nifty CGI surroundings.

Casino Jack
Alex Gibney gave devious lobbyist Jack Abramoff the documentary treatment earlier this year. Now, Kevin Spacey plays Abramoff in a feature directed by the late George Hickenlooper.

Rabbit Hole
Adapted from the award-winning Broadway play by David Lindsay-Abaire, “Rabbit Hole” tracks the grief of a couple (Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart) who have lost their son. John Cameron Mitchell directs — his first project since “Shortbus.”

How Do You Know
In this cheery rom-com, Reese Witherspoon is placed in the enviable position of choosing between Owen Wilson, the cute and clueless guy’s guy, and Paul Rudd, the goofy nice guy.

DEC. 22

True Grit
The Coen brothers reunite with Jeff Bridges after 12 years. Instead of a stoner, Bridges plays a drunken U.S. marshal who helps a girl exact vengeance on her father’s killer (Josh Brolin) before a Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) gets to him first.

Set at L.A. celebrity hot spot Chateau Marmont, “Somewhere” stars Stephen Dorff as an actor whose fast-living lifestyle is put on pause when his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning) re-enters his life. Perhaps Sofia Coppola will breathe new life into Dorff’s career, just as she did for Bill Murray’s.

Country Strong
Gwyneth Paltrow turns on the Southern twang as a recently rehabbed country star struggling with demons during her comeback tour. Tim McGraw co-stars as her husband/manager, Leighton Meester as her youthful rival and Garrett Hedlund as a young love interest.

Little Fockers
The Fockers are back, this time with two rugrats in tow. Expect your usual Robert De Niro-versus-Ben Stiller showdown buffoonery.

Gulliver’s Travels
In this modern-day retelling of the Jonathan Swift tale, Jack Black plays a mailroom worker who lies his way into a travel-writing assignment, which in turn lands him in the miniature kingdom of Lilliput.

DEC. 25

The Illusionist
In this animated tale from “The Triplets of Belleville” director Sylvain Chomet, an aging magician crosses paths with a young girl and becomes a father figure. The hand-drawn style is a relief from the slick look of big-studio animation.

DEC. 29

Another Year
The film from Mike Leigh follows a year in the life of a long-married couple. Mark this one — it’s been getting rave reviews at film festivals.

Javier Bardem picked up the best actor award at Cannes for his performance as a father who balances parenthood with a criminal life. The balance teeters when he’s diagnosed with a terminal illness.

The Way Back
In Peter Weir’s first film since “Master and Commander,” a group of prisoners escapes a Soviet Union gulag and traverses thousands of miles of cruel terrain to reach safety. Stars Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris and Colin Farrell.

DEC. 31

Blue Valentine

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in this portrait of a marriage falling apart. Director Derek Cianfrance shuttles between their present days of trouble and the early days, when all was sunny and fine.



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