III No. 11
publication of the National Association of Theatre Owners
in In Focus
Comedy-drama, utilizing numerous flashbacks,
about a man who realizes he doesn’t really know
his dying father because every story the father
ever told was brimming with fabrication. Based
on the novel by Daniel Wallace (“The Watermelon
King”). Directed by Tim Burton (“Sleepy
Hollow,” “Planet of the Apes”)
from a screenplay by John August (“Charlie’s
Angels: Full Throttle”). With Ewan McGregor
(“Down With Love”), Alison Lohman (“Matchstick
Men”), Albert Finney (“Traffic”),
Steve Buscemi (“Spy Kids 3D: Game Over”),
Danny DeVito (“Anything Else”), Helena
Bonham Carter (“The Heart of Me”),
Billy Crudup (“World Traveler”) and
Jessica Lange (“Titus,” “Masked & Anonymous”).
PG-13: A fight scene; some images of nudity; a
suggestive reference. Dec. 10 limited; wider Jan.
Comedy about a couple whose 12-kid household runs
into parenting issues when Dad takes a new job
and Mom finds herself having to leave the house
more and more to promote her new book. A loose
remake of the 1950s comedy, based on the children’s
book by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Earnestine Gilbreth
Carey. Directed by Shawn Levy (“Big Fat Liar,” “Just
Married”) from a screenplay by Sam Harper
(“Just Married”) and Craig Titley (“See
Spot Run”). With Steve Martin (“Bringing
Down the House,” “Looney Tunes: Back
in Action”), Bonnie Hunt (“Stolen Summer”),
Piper Perabo (“Lost and Delirious”),
Hilary Duff (“The Lizzie McGuire Movie”),
Brent Kinsman and Tom Welling (TV’s “Smallville”).
Flat. Dec. 25. Fox.
Ensemble drama, set inside and around Chicago’s famed Joffrey Ballet, about – among
many other things – an overworked dancer who falls for a chef. Directed
by Robert Altman (“Gosford Park”) from a screenplay by Barbara Turner
(“Pollock”). With Neve Campbell (“Drowning Mona”), James
Franco (“City by the Sea”), Malcolm McDowell (“I Spy”),
Barbara Robertson (“Soul Survivors”), Marilyn Dodds Frank (“Just
Visting”), Susie Cusack (“High Fidelity”) and Emma Harrison
(“Intolerable Cruelty”). Flat. 112 min. PG-13: Brief strong language;
some nudity; sexual content. Dec. 25 in New York and Los Angeles. Sony Pictures
With a Pearl Earring
Drama that speculates on Johnannes Vermeer’s
famous painting, positing that its subject was
a 16-year-old housemaid in the painter’s
home who eventually evolved into his assistant.
Based on novel by Tracy Chevalier (“The Virgin
Blue”). Directed by Peter Webber from a screenplay
by Olivia Hetreed. With Scarlett Johansson (“Lost
in Translation”), Colin Firth (“What
A Girl Wants,” “Love Actually”),
Tom Wilkinson (“The Importance of Being Earnest”),
Judy Parfitt (“Ever After”), Cillian
Murphy (“28 Days Later”) and Essie
Davis (“The Matrix Reloaded”). 95 min.
PG-13: Some sexual content. Dec. 12 in New York
and Los Angeles; wider Jan. 9. Lions Gate.
Historical epic, set in 1836 San Antonio, about
the Mexican army’s famous 13-day siege on
a small group of volunteers – William Travis,
Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie among them – who
fought for Texas’ independence from Mexico.
Directed by John Lee Hancock (“The Rookie”)
from a screenplay by Hancock (“Midnight in
the Garden of Good and Evil”), John Sayles
(“Casa de Los Babys”), Leslie Bohem
(“Dante’s Peak”) and Stephen
Gaghan (“Traffic,” “Abandon”).
With Billy Bob Thornton (“Intolerable Cruelty,” “Love
Actually,” “Bad Santa”) as Crockett,
Jason Patric (“Narc”) as Bowie, Tony-winning
Broadway vet Patrick Wilson as Travis, Dennis Quaid
(“Cold Creek Manor”) as Sam Houston,
Marc Blucas (“I Capture the Castle,” “Prey
for Rock and Roll”) as James Bonham, Jordi
Mollà (“Bad Boys II”) as Juan
Seguin and Emilio Echevarría (“Die
Anther Day”) as General Santa Anna. Scope.
Dec. 25. Buena Vista.
Comedy-drama, set in Yorkshire, England, and
based on a true story, about a dozen society
matrons who decide to raise money for charity
by posing nude for a calendar. Directed by Nigel
Cole (“Saving Grace”) from a screenplay
by Tim Firth and Juliette Towhidi. With Helen
Mirren (“No Such Thing”), Julie Walters
(the “Harry Potter” series), Penelope
Wilton (“Iris”), Annette Crosbie
(“Shooting Fish”), Philip Glenister
(“London Kills Me”), Celia Imrie
(“Lucky Break”), Linda Bassett (“The
Hours”) and John Alderton. Scope. 108 min.
PG-13: Nudity; some language; drug-related material.
Dec. 19 limited; wider Jan. 1. Buena Vista.
Drama, set during the Civil War, about a Confederate
soldier who struggles to make his way back home
to South Carolina after being badly injured in
battle. Based on the first novel by Charles Frazier.
Written and directed by Anthony Minghella (“The
English Patient,” “The Talented Mr.
Ripley”). With Jude Law (“Road to Perdition”),
Nicole Kidman (“The Hours,” “The
Human Stain”), Renée Zellweger (“Down
With Love”), Natalie Portman (“Star
Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones”),
Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Owning Mahowny”),
Giovanni Ribisi (“Lost in Translation”),
Brendan Gleeson (“28 Days Later”),
Donald Sutherland (“The Italian Job”),
Jena Malone (“The Dangerous Lives of Altar
Boys”) and Ray Winstone (“Last Orders”).
Dec. 25. Miramax.
Fog of War
Documentary about Robert McNamara, who served
as U.S. secretary of defense during the Kennedy
and Johnson administrations. Featuring Robert
McNamara as himself, as well as archival footage
of Fidel Castro, Barry Goldwater, Lyndon Johnson,
John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Directed by
Errol Morris (“Fast, Cheap & Out of
Control,” “Mr. Death”). Flat.
107 min. PG-13: Images and thematic issues of
war and destruction. Dec. 19 in New York and
Los Angeles. Sony Pictures Classics.