Santa and Award Season Make Their Way

There are seven shopping days left until Christmas and the malls are filling up almost quicker than the movie theaters. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part II saw the sunrise for the first time removed from the prominent Top Five at the Box Office (#6 to be exact). Not surprisingly, The Hobbit (took) An Unexpected Journey to the top of the charts, ending the trip with the best view at the #1  location, opening Friday with $37.5 million and ending the weekend with $84.8 million, a record breaker for the month of December. Rise of the Guardians held their animated heads high once again at the #2 locale with $7.42 million. Lincoln, who got some love from the Golden Globes, ended the weekend sitting pretty at the #3 spot with $7.24 million. Golden Globe snub Bond saw the Skyfall all the way down to the #4 spot (where the atmosphere may not be award-winning but is clear, blue nonetheless) with $7 million. The Life of Pi, also a Golden Globe nominee, witnessed the world from the #5 position with $5.4 million.

Now, from seaside days to starry nights, Santa and the movie stars are all aglow, eager to light the way to the merriest  season..


Bilbo, Bond and the Big Guy in the Red Suit

The Top Five films may welcome a new contender this week as a fantastical journey takes place at a movie theater near you. The holidays are in full swing as The Hobbit (hopes for an) Unexpected Journey to the top of the festive box office charts, eager to eclipse The Twilight along the star-studded way. Will the popular Hobbit, with his faithful dwarves in tow, beat a more movie profitable path than the animated Santa Claus and his loyal Rise of the Guardians companions, who traveled all the way to the #2 spot last week? Bond seemed quite comfy watching the Skyfall from the #1 position last week. Wondering where he will rest his martini this week? What about former president and proven champ Lincoln and novice president FDR, who journeyed from Hyde Park on Hudson to compel and compete? Will dawn come for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2 before the big guy in the red suit arrives? Can The lucrative Life of Pi contend with all that and continue smooth sailing?

More importantly, with all this action and fantasy occurring at the movies, who has time for holiday shopping?

From seaside days to starry movie nights, may your weekend come with big screen action and fantastic entertainment!

It Happened One Holiday Night

The Holiday(s) are an enchanting time, transforming land lovers as well as those coasting by the ocean into festive film worshipers. Needing a rest before The Biggest Night of the Year, Santa Claus arrives along the sparkling Hollywood coast for a much-deserved but brief (movie) break. With sunglasses and SPF in hand, the little-known film buff quickly rejects a Christmas in Connecticut in favor of frost-free California terrain. The mysterious “Man in Red” sets aside his planned movie marathon when he realizes that Love Actually exists here among the stars and the sandy mistletoe and considers settling in with Mrs. Claus for a long winter’s nap (effective December 26th). They enjoy their first night in town as the honored guests at a glitzy Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, where music and the magic of the holidays linger in the air. In search of One Magic Christmas, the Mr. & Mrs. travel incognito on The Polar Express, which has just taken off on a festive Tinstletown tour. Each tiny Elf (along with the big kids) is hoping for a White Christmas to illuminate every Miracle (occurring) on 34th Street, Main Street, Hollywood Boulevard and beyond.  On board, Mr.& Mrs. Claus Meet John Doe and crew, who quickly give up their seats for the Little Women entering the train. The Family Man is swapping stories with The Family Stone, who find themselves on the Naughty List for sneaking a peek at Bridget Jones’s Diary. Always on the Nice List, however, is Prancer, leading the way toward enough joy to fill Four Christmases (since one is never enough). The happy passengers marvel at signs of Christmas found throughout town.

What movie magic is waiting for them, you may wonder? Check back next Wednesday for the continuing Claus chronicle …


The Movie Times They Are a Changing

Jawaharlal Nehru once remarked, “The wheel of change moves on, and those who were down go up and those who were up go down.” Was the late political leader referring to world affairs or box office results, where a few changes occurred this weekend? Skyfall got a better view from the #1 setting with $11 million with Rise of the Guardians happily rising to the #2 spot with $10.5 million. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2 dropped to the #3 spot with $9.2 million.

Perhaps Nehru’s remark best applies to the movie style political battle occurring on Hyde Park on Hudson between newcomer FDR and movie vet Lincoln, who went head-to-head this weekend in the movie arena. Lincoln won that battle, coming in at #4 with $9.1 million while Hyde Park on Hudson opened in limited release, preventing it from reaching the Top Ten, sailing in far behind the Life of Pi, which came in at #5 with $8.3 million.

Meanwhile, films like Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (which wins my vote for Most Unique Movie Title 2012) and In Our Nature opened this week to significantly smaller audiences. In our big screen world, these little well-crafted films represent a change from big-time, even bigger profit, productions. However, time will pass, the Sky(will eventually)fall and the Twilight Saga will finally see the cold light of day.

For the moment, Cheerful Weather and In Our Nature receive accolades as opposed to  audiences, adding color to the cinematic landscape (where they wait patiently for DVD release and at-home audiences).

Through Seaside days and star-filled nights, enjoy your week at the movies!

Presidential Box Office Battle

As the year slowly winds to a compelling halt, a few films enter the cinematic arena this weekend worth checking out (as opposed to checking out the long holiday-inspired lines at Wal-Mart).  Bill Murray, who channels his inner FDR to take a political walk down Hyde Park on Hudson, takes in the scenery while tackling the starring role in a historic 1939 meeting with England’s King George VI.  But can newcomer FDR and all his political clout surpass proven veteran Lincoln in the box office ring? Will we find any new surprises in the Top Five films or will this be a lather, rinse, repeat of last week (where, the Sky(continues to)Fall?

Also coming to theaters this weekend is Gerard Butler, who, along with Jessica Biel, is Playing for Keeps but can he keep the romance-loving crowds from following the long lines waiting to see the Twilight Saga crew? Drawing a different kind of crowd is the family-friendly Rise of the Guardians, determined to raise ticket sales while protecting yuletide cheer.

Whether seeing a new release or an established favorite, hope your weekend is an entertaining one!

Mistletoe over Movieland

The holidays can be hectic, even for the Cyber shoppers among us, leaving little time for important matters like holiday films. While we, Christmas movie aficionados, find the time for Christmas staples such as It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story, there are so many other mistletoe-loving films that may have garnered less press but are still worth settling in for a brief but entertaining break from long lines at your local Target.

A few yuletide greats you may have overlooked, or are worth a second look, made even sweeter with hot chocolate and sugar cookies…

During a festive holiday season, we find a well-intentioned bachelor (Jack Lemmon) loaning out The Apartment (1960) to his cheating bosses (including Fred MacMurray) until he falls in love with one of those women (Shirley MacLaine).

A shallow bachelor (Hugh Grant) is happily living off the royalties of a Christmas song penned by his father until he gets caught up in the life story About a Boy (2002).

Among the Desk Set (1957), a computer expert and a facts checker (Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn) clash both personally and professionally during the holiday season only to fall in love under the mistletoe.

Christmas with the Kranks (Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, 2004) is typically an expensive event. When their daughter leaves for the Peace Corps, the Kranks decide to spend their yuletide money on a ten-day Caribbean cruise instead only to be considered pariahs by their Christmas-loving community.

A couple (Chevy Chase , Madeline Stowe) are on the brink of divorce after they move to their dream house in the country, which unfortunately turns out to be a Funny Farm (1989). In desperation, they turn to the eccentric townspeople for helping in unloading their nightmare. Their solution? Create the ultimate Christmas wonderland for potential buyers.

A frustrated Los Angeles movie-trailer producer and a depressed London writer (Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet) exchange houses for The Holiday (2006) and end up changing their lives in the process.

Paul Newman is Nobody’s Fool (1994), a past-his-prime construction worker who reconnects with his son and grandsons during the holidays.

However you choose to spend the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, hope you enjoy your Christmas (movie) Break!

Making a Box Office Killing?

With the exception of Brad Pitt’s crime drama, Killing Them Softly, few films entered the arena this weekend. Following a record-breaking, long Thanksgiving weekend at the movies, the studio executives are apparently content to let November’s big releases linger among the all-important movie circuit. Last week’s champs need not Beware of Mr. Baker, also opening in theaters this week but drawing a small following. Moviegoers weren’t showing Love, Marilyn, the documentary about the infamous Marilyn Monroe, much love either, ironically, as this week’s Top Five films looks strangely like last week’s!

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part II has yet to see a dark box-office night, remaining at its #1 spot with an addition $17.4 million. James Bond is still watching the Skyfall from the lofty # 2 position with $17 million while Oscar contender and all-around great American Lincoln  ended this box office go around at his familiar #3 place with $13.6 million.

DreamWorks animated film Rise of the Guardians, which failed to meet high studio standards last week despite its holiday theme, protected its #4 turf  with $13.5 million. Meanwhile, the Life of Pi, as problem plagued as it is, sailed in right behind Santa Claus and crew, docking in at the #5 place with $12 million.

Brad Pitt’s latest film, sadly, did not make a box office killing, where the Weinstein & Co produced Killing Them Softly failed to intimidate last week’s contenders, ending the weekend at #7 with $7 million.

As the holidays coast through each “tinsel” town, we can expect more cinema-style entertainment all season long!

From seaside days to North Pole nights, hope your week is entertaining!