“Skyfall 007” (Nov. 9)
Daniel Craig’s third outing as James Bond has been long gestating as the studio has faced financial problems. But now, four years after “Quantum of Solace,” Bond’s new mission is to protect his boss M from a terrorist organization’s wicked plans. Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem join the cast. Vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred) all around.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2” (Nov. 16)
It is the “Twilight” franchise’s swan song. Some moviegoers will breathe a sigh of relief while others will fear the end. No matter how you feel about it, this will no doubt be a huge box office hit. Kristen Stewart’s Bella adjusts to life as a vampire this time around, and the vampire council known as the Volturi hunts the Cullen family down. It was recently announced that all five films will screen in a Nov. 15 marathon at select movie theaters, with the final movie at 10 p.m. rather than midnight. Both Carbondale theaters will present the marathon.
Also in November: John C. Reilly is a video game villain who wants to be the good guy in the animated “Wreck-It Ralph,” releasing Friday; Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain”) adapts the novel “Life of Pi” for a cinematic release, Nov. 21 and the long-gestating “Red Dawn” remake, starring actors whose fame has become considerably higher since the time they filmed the movie, including Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, also out Nov. 21.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (Dec. 14)
Peter Jackson returns to the mega-hit “Lord of the Rings” franchise with this prequel, which follows Bilbo Baggins’ early adventures with Gandalf. Jackson recently announced the book will be turned into a trilogy with the second film “The Desolation of Smaug,” out December 2013, and the final film “There and Back Again,” in theaters July 2014. Warner Bros. wants this film to launch another franchise, so all eyes are on the first installment to light the fire.
“Django Unchained” (Dec. 25)
“Django” (The “D” is silent) is Quentin Tarantino’s first directorial effort in more than two years, and Hollywood takes notice whenever he produces a movie. Tarantino exemplifies the auteur theory. He has a unique style, often taking on classic Hollywood genres and giving them a contemporary spin. Jamie Foxx stars in the film as the title character, a freed slave who teams up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to take down several slave traders and rescue Django’s wife from an evil plantation owner (Leonardo Dicaprio). Since it’s Tarantino, the audience is guaranteed a couple things: The movie is going to be ridiculously long, and it’s going to be ridiculously awesome. Foxx is a dependable actor, and the team of Foxx and Waltz is an interesting choice. This may be an unorthodox Christmas release, but it tops my list.
Also in December: Judd Apatow spins off “Knocked Up” as he follows Paul Rudd’s character from the original movie in “This is 40,” Dec. 21; Kathryn Bigelow, Academy Awarding-winning director of “The Hurt Locker,” presents a tale about catching Osama Bin Laden in “Zero Dark Thirty,” Dec. 19; and Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand go on a road trip in “The Guilt Trip,” also out Dec. 19.