January 3rd

Hangover Part II – Bradley Cooper,   Zach Galifianakis,

Two years after the bachelor party in Las Vegas, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug jet to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. Stu’s plan for a subdued pre-wedding brunch, however, goes seriously awry. (R)



The Guard – Don Cheadle, Brendon Gleeson

An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring. (R)

January 10

Moneyball – Brad Pitt,  Johan Hill

The story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players. (PG-13)



January 13

Ides of March – George Clooney,  Ryan Gosling

During the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, an up-and-coming campaign press secretary finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. (R)

January 24

Real Steel– Hugh Jackman,  Evangeline Lilly

Charlie Kenton is a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max to build and train a championship contender. (PG-13)


January 31

Drive–  Ryan Gosling,  Carey Mulligan

Driver is a Hollywood stunt driver by day, and moonlights as a top-notch getaway driver for hire in the criminal underworld. He finds himself a target for some of LA’s most dangerous men after agreeing to aid the husband of his beautiful neighbor, Irene. When the job goes dangerously awry, the only way he can keep Irene and her son alive is to do what he does best, Drive! (R)


March 2

2012 – John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover

A geophysical team investigating the effect radiation from other solar systems has on the Earth learns that the core of the Earth is heating up and warns the President of the United States. While the leaders of the world race to build ‘arks’ to escape the impending doom, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes of unprecedented strength wreak havoc all over the world.

Ponyo – Anime – Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon

A young boy named Sosuke rescues a goldfish named Ponyo, and they embark on a fantastic journey of friendship before Ponyo’s father forces her to return to the sea. Ponyo’s desire to be human upsets the balance of nature and only Ponyo’s mother can restore nature’s balance and make Ponyo’s dreams come true

Where the Wild Things Are – Chris Cooper, Max Records

Maurice Sendak’s classic story about Max, a rambunctious and sensitive boy who escapes to where the Wild Things are. Max lands on an island where he meets mysterious and strange creatures whose emotions are as wild and unpredictable as their actions.

March 9

Capitalism – A Love Story – Michael Moore

Michael Moore explores the root causes of the global economic meltdown and takes a comical look at corporate and political shenanigans. Along the way he tries to answer the question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism?

Precious – Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique

Oscar Nominated for Best Picture, Gabourey Sidibe for Best Actress and Mo ‘Nique for Best Supporting Actress.

Precious Jones, an inner-city high school girl, is illiterate, overweight, and pregnant…again. Naive and abused, Precious responds to a glimmer of hope when a door is opened by an alternative school teacher. She is faced with the choice to follow opportunity and test her own boundaries.

Up in the Air – George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick

Oscar nominated for Best Picture, George Clooney for Best Actor, and Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick for Best Supporting Actress.

Ryan Bingham is a corporate downsizing expert who flies all over the world on business. Just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and meeting the frequent traveler woman of his dreams, his company grounds him. When Bingham goes on his last cross-country firing expedition, he will learn that life isn’t about the journey, but about the connections made along the way.

March 16

Did You Hear About the Morgans – Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker

A very successful New York couple are at their wits’ end on how to solve their strained marriage. After they become the only witnesses to a brutal murder they are relocated to a small town in Wyoming as part of a witness-protection program. Now these diehard city dwellers will have to work together to survive the weather, bears, fresh air, and forced time with one another if they want to make it out alive

March 23

The Blind Side – Sandra Bullock, Quinton Bates

Oscar nominated for Best Picture and Sandra Bullock for Best Actress.

Based on the remarkable true story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher’s presence in the Touhys’ lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own.

Brothers – Toby Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal

Captain Sam Cahill is embarking on his fourth tour of duty, leaving behind his beloved wife and two daughters. When Sam’s Blackhawk helicopter is shot down in the mountains of Afghanistan, the worst is presumed, leaving an enormous void in the family. Despite a dark history, Sam’s charismatic younger brother steps in to fill the family void.

March 30

An Education – Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard

Oscar Nominated for Best Picture and Carey Mulligan for Best Actress.

In the early 1960s, 16-year-old Jenny Mellor lives with her parents in a London suburb. She is smart, pretty, and working toward her goal of being accepted into Oxford. Her life will take a big turn when she meets David, a man twice her age. Now she must decide if she will pursue an education at Oxford, or if she will choose to learn all that a charismatic, older man can teach her

Sherlock Holmes – Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law

This dynamic new portrayal of Sherlock Holmes sends Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson on their latest challenge. Revealing fighting skills as lethal as his legendary intellect, Holmes will battle as never before to bring down a new nemesis and unravel a deadly plot that could destroy the country.

How many of you hit the cineplex this holiday season?  And enjoyed adaptations of books like Walter Kirn’s Up in the Air? Did you know that Natalie didn’t even exist in the book? The author explains in an NPR interview that a “whole new character had to be introduced. A sort of sidekick had to be given to a lonely hero who spends most of the time in the novel observing and thinking about his world. But now we had to give him a chance to talk about his world.”

Another George Clooney vehicle., The Men Who Stare at Goats, is based on a  book by Jon Ronson. This is  even more mind twisting. The viewer wonders how much of the film (which inevitably alters a book) is true even though it’s based on a non-fiction work. The caption “More of this is true than you would believe” precedes the movie which sets up the question, “which particular parts are true?

What follows is the  depiction of the military’s  experimentation with New Age psychic phenomena.  Apparently, the Jeff Bridges character was based on a real officer (Lt. Col. Jim Channon) who led a hippie army called the First Earth Batallion (or the New Earth Army in the movie) , according to Wired magazine.

And don’t forget Roald Dahl’s wonderful Fantastic Mr. Fox, starring the voices of George Clooney and Meryl Streep. There is an insightful article about the Wes Anderson adaptation  in November/December’s  Film Comment.

I don’t know about you, but I always want to get back to the library and check out the book that inspired the movie in the first place. And then read about the book and the movie in our great magazine collection.