By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
With the 2010 calendar winding down and the Oscar race heating up, here are the year-end attractions moviegoers will be treated to (or, in some cases, subjected to) through the upcoming holiday season:
Johnny Depp plays the title-character American on vacation in Venice and Angelina Jolie a mysterious woman who deliberately crosses his path (above) in the twisty wrong-man thriller, The Tourist.
Natalie Portman (right) stars as an ambitious, troubled dancer struggling with the lead role in a production of “Swan Lake” in the fiercely competitive world of professional ballet in New York City in the psychological noir thriller, Black Swan.
Colin Firth portrays Britain’s stuttering King George VI, who had to take over the crown and deliver an address to the nation as it entered World War II, with Geoffrey Rush as his eccentric speech therapist, in the inspire-the-nation drama, The King’s Speech.
Helen Mirren (right) stars as Prospera — as opposed to Prospero, a role usually played by a male — in an adaptation of Shakespeare’s fantastical drama involving sorcery, shipwreck, and a power struggle on an island in The Tempest.
The Pevensie siblings and their cousin return to Narnia and encounter supernatural creatures in a further adventure in the drama based on a third CS Lewis book in the fantasy sequel, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Reese Witherpoon (near right), Paul Rudd (far right), Owen Wilson, and Jack Nicholson co-star in a romantic comedy about our universal proccupation with knowing whether or not we’re in love in How Do You Know.
Kevin Spacey stars as self-styled, real-life superlobbyist Jack Abramoff in the narrative version of the same story told in the 2010 documentary, Casino Jack and the United States of Money, in Casino Jack.
Jeff Bridges returns as the designer-of-video-games character he played in the original Tron 28 years ago, now missing, with Garrett Hedlund as the son who searches for him in the digital 3-D thriller, Tron: Legacy.
Dan Aykroyd provides the voice of the title character and Justin Timberlake that of his sidekick, Boo-Boo Bear, in a 3-D mix of live action and animation based on the TV comedy staple set in Jellystone Park, Yogi Bear.
Mark Wahlberg (right) plays welterweight “Irish” Mickey Ward, who came out of retirement in the 1990s, with Christian Bale as the half-brother who helped him train, in the real-life boxing drama, The Fighter.
Returnees Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, and Owen Wilson welcome Jessica Alba, Harvey Keitel, Laura Dern, and five-year-old twins to the ensemble in the second comedy sequel about the family whose name you pronounce very carefully, in Little Fockers.
The Coen Brothers give an idiosyncratic makover to the 1969 western that brought John Wayne his only Oscar as US marshal Rooster Cogburn — with Jeff Bridges as Cogburn, along with Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and newcomer Hailee Stanfield — in True Grit.
Gwyneth Paltrow (right) stars as a rehabbed country singer on a comeback tour — a twangy musical drama very much in the mold of last year’s similarly themed and plotted Crazy Heart, starring Oscar-winning best actor Jeff Bridges — in Country Strong.
Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart struggle with their grief as they try to come to grips with the death of their son in the movie version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Rabbit Hole.
Ben Affleck (right), Tommy Lee Jones, and Chris Cooper play executives struggling to stay financially and emotionally afloat after being pink-slipped by a major corporation in the recession-era drama, The Company Men.
And Jack Black stars as an underachieving mailroom clerk and aspiring travel writer who ends up in Lilliput, whose citizens are six inches tall, in a live-action version of the classic fantasy novel by satirist Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels.
That ought to keep entertainment seekers busy until 2011. Enjoy!