Fall films ring in Thanksgiving at the box office

Thanksgiving weekend, usually associated with families, eating, football and shopping, is also a profitable and powerful weekend at the box office. With Oscar nomination season right around the corner, films released around this time can provide an enjoyable diversion from the family togetherness as well as provide a peek at some of Hollywood’s most talent-ridden products.

This Thanksgiving weekend, which sees many films released on Thursday to maximize the weekend’s box office tally, provides a particularly diverse selection for the bored vacationing college student and the family seeking a holiday outing alike. Here are some gems that studios are releasing just in time for Oscar season.


Starring: Ray Winstone, Robin Wright Penn, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie.

The latest from Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump”) is somewhat of a revolutionary experience. Taking its story from the age-old epic that many of us remember struggling through during high school literature class, the film utilizes motion capture technology to provide animated characters that completely mirror the actions of the actors who voice them. Every subtle nuance of expression is captured beautifully and enhanced by striking visuals only made possible through animation. The result is perhaps the most realistic and moving animated film in recent memory. The graphic nature of the Beowulf storyline will probably make this film one strictly for mature audiences. Attend an IMAX 3-D showing for a more involved presentation.

Nov. 16, Rated “PG-13.”

“Enchanted” (Nov. 21)

Starring: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, Julie Andrews.

This genre-bending film from Disney has assembled all the elements for a successfully-told, charming, family-oriented fairytale. With the talents of Amy Adams, Julie Andrews and Patrick Dempsey, the film follows a princess forced from her comfortable, magical lifestyle into the real world of modern day New York City by an evil queen. What follows blends animation with live action and childlike wonderment with the more adult overtones of the working world as the princess falls for a 21st century businessman.

Nov. 21, Rated “PG.”

“The Mist”

Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Andre Braugher.

Director Frank Darabont goes for a Stephen King trifecta as he directs “The Mist,” adapted from a novella by the famed horror writer. The story follows a small town plagued by a mysterious mist that brings with it terrible creatures and strands the townspeople in the local supermarket to fight for their lives. The conflict between those who proclaim the freak mist storm to be judgment from God and those who are merely seeking to survive sets “The Mist” up to be a more psychological thriller that seeks to do more than merely shock and scare viewers. Darabont has a powerful legacy to complete as his previous two adaptations from King’s work were “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile,” both of which garnered multiple Oscar nominations.

Nov. 21, Rated “R.”


Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko.

For those who seek more action, Timothy Olyphant steps into the shoes of the mysterious Agent 47, on the run from his superiors, in the adaptation of the video game “Hitman.” The latest addition to the spy/agent genre boasts more action and less of an emotional conscience, which, to those seeking a deeper storyline, may be somewhat of a turnoff. The talented cast, however, may surprise audiences with their ability to add some human characterization to the gunplay.

Nov. 21, Rated “R.”

“I’m Not There”

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franklin, Ben Whishaw.

This film, also releasing in time for the holiday weekend, may be difficult to track down, but is already garnering rave reviews. A non-traditional biopic of folk singer Bob Dylan, the film brings the diverse talents of seven actors to the screen, all portraying different versions of the legendary musician. Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Richard Gere, among others, will embody different aspects of Dylan’s career and songwriting. The general headiness of plot and powerful acting that are sure to follow scream Oscar nominations.

Nov. 23, Rated “R.”

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