Gail Choice | 12/8/2010, 5 p.m.
This is the time of the year when movie lovers have a field day. From blockbusters to other good movies that can steal heat from major releases, it's time to grab some popcorn and lose yourself in the magic that's Hollywood.
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" Dec. 10
Return to the magic and wonder of C.S. Lewis' beloved world via the fantastic Narnian ship, the Dawn Treader. In this new installment of the blockbuster "The Chronicles of Narnia" motion picture franchise, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their cousin Eustace and their royal friend King Caspian, find themselves swallowed up in a painting and on the Dawn Treader. As they embark on an incredible adventure of destiny and discovery, they confront obstacles beyond imagination. The creatures are fantastic and the special effects, as always, are top-notch.
"The Tourist" Dec. 10
Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. An American tourist (Johnny Depp) is used by an Interpol agent (Angelina Jolie) in an attempt to flush out a criminal with whom she once had an affair. The very versatile Johnny Depp is at his best, proving he's an action hero of a different type.
"The Tempest" Dec. 10
In Julie Taymor's version of "The Tempest," the gender of Prospero has been switched to Prospera (Helen Mirren). Shakespeare's play mixes romance with fraternal politics and the supernatural.
Going back to the 16th or 17th century, women practicing the magical arts of alchemy were often convicted of witchcraft. In Taymor's version, Prospera is usurped by her brother and sent off with her 4-year-old daughter on a ship. She ends up on an island; it's a tabula rasa: no society, so the mother figure becomes a father figure to Miranda. This leads to the power struggle and balance between Caliban, played by Djimon Hounsou ("Gladiator," "Blood Diamond") and Prospera; a struggle not about brawn but about intellect.
"Yogi Bear" Dec. 17
Jellystone Park is celebrating its 100th anniversary. However, it may be for the last time. When a corrupt mayor turns failing Jellystone Park into a logging facility you can imagine that doesn't sit to well with Yogi Bear, who will lose his home. Yogi and Boo-Boo team with Ranger Smith and a wildlife documentarian to expose the mayor's plot to destroy a near extinct turtle, whose presence in the park should trigger its reclassification as a nature preserve. It all proves that Yogi is "smarter than the average bear." Great family movie, and your kids can get a good look at the animated characters you grew up with.
"Frankie and Alice" Dec. 17
There is already Oscar buzz around Halle Berry's riveting performance. Based on a true story, "Frankie and Alice" is a drama centered around a young woman with multiple personality disorder who struggles to not give in to her racist alter-personality.
"Gulliver's Travels" Dec. 17
Jack Black is bigger than ever ... as Gulliver, a perpetual underachiever and wannabe travel writer at a New York newspaper. When he finally makes an effort to actually venture out of the city to write a travel piece, a storm-tossed voyage lands him on an island inhabited by tiny folks called Lilliputians. After a rocky beginning, the gargantuan Gulliver becomes an inspiration to his new six-inch-tall friends. He brings them modern-day wonders like a PDA and music video game, while they help him kick it old-school during his travels through this unforgettable world. This twist on a classic should be fun.
"Little Fockers" Dec. 17
It has taken 10 years, two little Fockers with wife Pam (Teri Polo) and countless hurdles for Greg (Ben Stiller) to finally get "in" with his tightly wound father-in-law, Jack (Robert De Niro). When Greg and Pam's entire clan--including Pam's lovelorn ex, Kevin (Owen Wilson)--descends for the twins' birthday party, Greg must prove to the skeptical Jack that he's fully capable as the man of the house. Get ready to laugh.
Gail can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.