Winter break’s biggest theater releases

Fight crippling winter depression with a trip to the cinema. Here’s our take.

INFINITY FEATURES

INFINITY FEATURES

Tony Libera

âÄúAvatarâÄù (Dec. 18) DIRECTED BY: James Cameron STARRING: Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver. RATED: PG-13 ThereâÄôs big buzz surrounding âÄúAvatar,âÄù the newest film from James Cameron, but it has little to do with the actual film. All the hoopla stems from the fact that the last movie Cameron both wrote and directed was âÄúTitanic,âÄù a film that became the highest grossing film of all time and introduced a nation of preteen boys to Kate WinsletâÄôs rack. âÄúAvatarâÄù deals with mankindâÄôs struggle against the inhabitants of a distant planet using the modern storytelling tool that is unbridled CGI. The plot has potential, but it might get bogged down by the computer animation and visual theatrics. âÄúThe Imaginarium of Doctor ParnassusâÄù (Dec. 25) DIRECTED BY: Terry Gilliam STARRING: Christopher Plummer, Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp. RATED: PG-13 âÄúThe Imaginarium of Doctor ParnassusâÄù looks about as wild as its name suggests, sporting a bizarre visual style that could only have come from the acid-bleached brain of director and former Python , Terry Gilliam. The story centers on the titular Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), a man who made a pact with the devil (Tom Waits) for immortality. A thousand years later, the devil comes to collect on the deal, deciding to take ParnassusâÄô daughter, Valentina, as his fee. Gilliam lends enough weight to the film, but the cast supplements the appeal. Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell and the late Heath Ledger all play the part of Tony âÄî a stranger to The Imaginarium who attempts to save Valentina âÄîwith pleasurable results. Still, the best casting award goes to whoever roped Tom Waits into playing Old Scratch. âÄúNineâÄù (Dec. 25) DIRECTED BY: Rob Marshall STARRING: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench. RATED: PG-13 âÄúNineâÄù is a film adaptation of the play of the same name, which was inspired by FelliniâÄô s masterpiece âÄú8 1/2.âÄù The movie follows a director in the middle of a midlife crisis who must deal with a creative block and the absurd number of women complicating his life. Rob Marshall âÄî whose last musical adaptation, âÄúChicago,âÄù netted an Oscar âÄîdirects âÄúNine,âÄù but it will be Daniel Day-Lewis who fills the theater seats. Sherlock Holmes (Dec. 25) DIRECTED BY: Guy Ritchie STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams. RATED: PG-13 EverybodyâÄôs favorite coked-out super-sleuth comes to theaters this winter courtesy of director Guy Ritchie, the man behind the crime dramas âÄúSnatchâÄù and âÄúLock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.âÄù RitchieâÄôs pedigree ensures two things: The movie will be hyper-stylistic, and it will also be saturated with explicit violence âÄî a trait not necessarily present in the original Holmes tales. Robert Downey Jr. plays Holmes, a perfect fit based on his weirdness and his past indiscretions with the white lady (coke). Jude Law dons a duster âÄôstache to become Watson, the Garth to DowneyâÄôs Wayne Campbell , and Rachel McAdams fills the role of Irene Adler, the one woman who ever bested the great detective. Violence and a handful of action sequences are all well and good, but the characters and intricate plots are what made DoyleâÄôs Holmes stories great. HereâÄôs hoping that Ritchie doesnâÄôt lose sight of that. âÄúYouth in RevoltâÄù (Jan. 8) DIRECTED BY: Miguel Arteta STARRING: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Zach Galifianakis. RATED: R In a shocking, surprise move, Michael Cera will not play an awkward teen that falls in love with a quirky yet still marginally attractive young lady. Just kidding. In âÄúYouth in Revolt,âÄù Cera plays 16-year-old Nick Twisp, a boy whoâÄôs enamored by the uninterested Sheeni Saunders. It seems like pretty standard Cera fare until his character decides to create a badass alter ego by the name of Francois Dillinger. Like Tyler Durden before him, Francois is everything that Nick Twisp is not. This allows Nick to get the girl, but at a price: He becomes a wanted criminal.