Of all the old acquaintances coming to movie screens for the holidays — Rooster Cogburn, Gulliver, the Focker family, the Narnia crew — one kid with glasses stands above them all.

HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 is the beginning of the end for one of Hollywood’s most remarkable undertakings, a decade long dash to adapt J.K. ROWLING’S seven novels about the young wizard before DANIEL RADCLIFFE and his costars outgrow their roles.

Told in two parts, with November’s first installment followed by next July’s finale, the adaptation of Ms. Rowling’s final book sends DANIEL RADCLIFFE’S HARRY and pals HERMIONE (EMMA WATSON) and RON (RUPERT GRINT) outside the safety of Hogwarts wizardry school on a quest to bring down their nemesis, evil VOLDEMORT (RALPH FIENNES) – once and for all.

DANIEL RADCLIFFE campaigned from the start to break the story into two movies. Unlike the earlier books, which had secondary plot lines that could be omitted, DEATHLY HALLOWS had few details to drop.

“It’s just the three of them on the road and that’s what you’re focusing on. That’s where everything happens. So there’s very little you can actually cut without changing the story,” DANIEL commented.

“There was no way you could do justice to the book and really capture the story in one film unless you made that film six hours.”

“And while I know there are some fans that would be quite happy to have a six hour Harry Potter film, we do want to make films not just for the huge fans of the books, but also for the other people, regular cinemagoers, who perhaps haven’t read them.”

“So it was essential to make it palatable for everyone, while also remaining true to the book – and to do that, you have to make it into two films.”

Here’s a look at highlights among other films debuting for the holidays this November and December.


THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER resumes C.S. LEWIS’ fantasy adventure, with the Pevensie youths reteaming with King Caspian on a perilous sea journey.


Father in law ROBERT DE NIRO and son in law BEN STILLER are at odds again in LITTLE FOCKERS, the third chapter in the MEET THE PARENTS franchise, with fresh mayhem erupting at a family gathering.

Also on the comedy front…

DIANE KEATON, HARRISON FORD and RACHEL McADAMS star in MORNING GLORY, about bickering hosts of a morning TV news show.


JOHNNY DEPP and ANGELINA JOLIE star in THE TOURIST, a romantic thriller about a heartbroken man swept up in intrigue in Italy after a mystery woman thrusts her way into his life.

BLUE VALENTINE casts RYAN GOSLING and MICHELLE WILLIAMS in a drama that cuts back and forth between two people’s hopeful beginnings and the agonizing disintegration of their marriage.


HELEN MIRREN does Shakespearean sorcery and hard boiled espionage with a pair of December releases.

JULIE TAYMOR’S gender bending THE TEMPEST casts Ms. Mirren in a traditionally male role as a woman who conjures a storm to shipwreck enemies on her island home, where she aims to settle old scores.

THE DEBT, from SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE director JOHN MADDEN, features HELEN and AVATAR headliner SAM WORTHINGTON in a thriller about Mossad agents chasing a Nazi butcher.

Among other holiday dramas…

COLIN FIRTH plays Britain’s monarch George VI, father of the current queen, as a therapist (GEOFFREY RUSH) tries to help him overcome a speech impediment in THE KING’S SPEECH.

NATALIE PORTMAN’S a ballet dancer whose dark side emerges as she competes with a rival in BLACK SWAN.

CHRISTIAN BALE and MARK WAHLBERG are sibling boxers who team for triumph in the ring in THE FIGHTER.

SOFIA COPPOLA (LOST IN TRANSLATION) directs SOMEWHERE, the story of a party boy actor (STEPHEN DORFF) reassessing his life during a visit from his daughter (ELLE FANNING).

NAOMI WATTS and SEAN PENN star in FAIR GAME, a drama about CIA operative VALERIE PLAME, whose cover was blown by a Bush administration leak.

To prepare, NAOMI went to spy boot camp, where she was handcuffed, hooded, confined in a box, struck with canes and put through other ordeals to familiarize herself with Ms. Plame’s world.

“The first day, I said, ‘Ow,’ when somebody kicked me on the shins, and the trainer said — he always would sound so fierce and angry, like these beady eyes and tight lips — great trainer, ‘Don’t be making any complaints unless you want to go to hospital. And we can go to hospital, but I don’t want to humiliate you,‘” NAOMI remarked.

“So it was like, ‘Oh my God. I better really toughen up here.‘”


The animated musical TANGLED features MANDY MOORE providing the voice of long haired Rapunzel, the fairy tale princess trapped in a tower.

GWYNETH PALTROW and TIM McGRAW star in COUNTRY STRONG, the story of a fallen country star hoping to revive her career on a tour with a rising songwriter (GARRETT HEDLUND).


DENZEL WASHINGTON and director TONY SCOTT’S latest collaboration is UNSTOPPABLE. DENZEL’S a railroad engineer who teams with a conductor (STAR TREK star CHRIS PINE) to put the brakes on a runaway train carrying deadly toxins.

Also in the action lineup…

RUSSELL CROWE stars in THE NEXT THREE DAYS as a man plotting a prison break after his wife (ELIZABETH BANKS) is jailed for murder.

JEFF BRIDGES resurrects two Hollywood heroes with TRON: LEGACY, a follow up to his 1982 sci fi adventure TRON and JOEL and ETHAN COEN’S TRUE GRIT, a remake of the JOHN WAYNE western.

TRON: LEGACY casts JEFF’S video game genius back into a dazzling cyber realm, where his son (GARRETT HEDLUND) follows to find his missing father.

In TRUE GRIT, which costars MATT DAMON, JEFF plays Rooster Cogburn, a boozy, take no prisoners law enforcer hired by a girl to track down her father’s murderer.

The two films, which open barely a week apart in December, sent JEFF back and forth between a visual effects extravaganza and 19th century sets.

“It was really crazy. The big swing was, after True Grit, we shot some work on Tron: Legacy and it was maybe a one day difference. Just right to it,” commented JEFF, who had the same makeup artist on both shoots.

“One minute, he was putting all this dust on me, combing my beard…and the next he’s putting dots on my face to do some special effects.”

4 Responses to “MORE FALL FILM NEWS”


    seems this just happened. arrrgh…

    i swear there was an ad/review in houston chronicle for the film animal kingdom that was supposed to open at the angelika this weekend.

    this must have just hit. wow…. 😦

  2. glim, I can barely express how sorry I am.

    That is monstrous.

    I don’t know a whole hell of a lot about Houston. But it’s a really big city. The ANGELIKA wasn’t the only arthouse cinema complex that you had, was it?

    Any way you slice it, this is terribly unfortunate. I’m a strong believer in cinematic diversity and thriving arts scenes of all types in various kinds of communities.

    Not allowing the employees to be aware of big changes coming down the pike is cold blooded as hell. Having them close up for the late night Saturday showings and then having them arrive for the Sunday morning crowd – to see their place of work boarded up without any warning – is shameful.

    This is not a great economy to be looking for work. I’m so sad for those people. I also feel terrible for the patrons that adored the theatre. Are there any alternatives for less mainstream movie fare in Houston?

    Or are they stuck?

    This is bloody awful. So sorry to hear about that, honey bear.

    But a lot of theatres have closed in my fair city over the decades. We lost a lot of glamorous single screens even before I started becoming a regular filmgoer in the 90s.

    This just blows.

    It sounds like the company may try to relocate? I sincerely hope so.

    Keep me posted, glim. Fight the good fight and all that jazz…

  3. well ms. m, houston still has the landmark. but that only has three screens.

    and as you mentioned, a theatre with three screens tends to keep the films a bit longer.

    plus i feel that the type of films they get are a bit different than those that popped up at the angelika.

    the houston angelika branch had 8 screens and with the rare exception of some big blockbuster taking 2 screens for a week or whatever, you’d get 8 different movies.

    tough to replace.

    really i feel there’s nothing here any more. but i know some areas. never had anything at all.

    *sigh* 😦

  4. That’s terrible, glim.

    Every city (not just the big ones) needs some sort of artistic relevance. I know that it’s generally the larger metropolises that have more choice and provide the best platforms for arthouse releases.

    That certainly is a big blow to Houston residents that enjoyed non mainstream or foreign cinema.

    But other things will come up. Trust me.

    We used to have a ten auditorium arthouse in the Royal Centre mall downtown. It was open for nearly ten years, from the 80s to the mid 90s.

    It is now a bank.

    How’s that for a masterful fricking corporate takeover? Makes me ill every time I think about it.

    It was a bit before my time. But I was down there towards the end of its run. Mostly with my aunt. No stadium seating in that mofo and most of the auditoriums were fairly small. Even when you’re tall, in those rows it could be difficult to see over someone’s head depending on their height and exactly where they were sitting in relation to you.

    But God…

    Those films. Such astonishing quality and an incredible variety too. My aunt was brokenhearted when they closed.

    But now we have several theatres that either cater exclusively to the arthouse crowd or that feature a lot of it.

    Don’t be sad, honey bear. It may take a while. But Houston will rebound.

    There will always be people like you that hate superhero movies and talking animal flicks.

    Someone has to cater to people with taste. It will all even out eventually.

    Remember that I told you so.

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