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Must see Movies for December 2007

“Awake” is the only new movie that’s coming out this weekend, but its releasing studio, The Weinstein Company, is not screening it for critics. We know what that means! The studio is afraid of early negative feedbacks for their movie.

If I were you, I would use this weekend to catch up on all-things movies! The fall season is traditionally the time of year when studios release their Oscar hopefuls. Here’s my list of films you have to see right now, and movies I am looking forward to watching in December.

“American Gangster” – Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe heat up the screen in director Ridley Scott’s homage to real-life urban crimes. The film is this year’s “The Departed” complete with the good cop/bad cop angle. I predict the movie to get Oscar nominations for best picture, best actors, best director, best screenplay, and the memorable Ruby Dee for best supporting actress.

“No Country for Old Men” – If my Oscar crystal ball is correct, this film is going to win best picture! The Coen brothers (“Fargo,” “Blood Simple”) made good use of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, and created a perfect, genre-bending movie. Javier Bardem will win best supporting actor thanks to his searing performance as the villain Anton Chigurh. He even came with the catchphrase of the year – “Call it, Friendo.”

“Enchanted” – I enjoyed this Disney fairy tale! Amy Adams created a star-making turn similar to Julie Andrews during her “Mary Poppins” days. There’s a huge Oscar buzz circulating about Adams’ performance, and she deserves all the accolades!

“Into the Wild” – Sean Penn’s masterpiece just won the Gotham Award for best picture, and is on its way to being nominated for the Oscars. Actor Emile Hirsch gave a star-making performance playing the real-life Chris McCandless who met his tragic fate heading into the wild.

“Michael Clayton” – Director Tony Gilroy (the intelligent scribe behind the “Bourne” films) crafted a smart film that unfolded like a 70s flick – thought provoking and insightful. Indeed, “American Gangster” and “Michael Clayton” are two great movies that are giving this year’s Oscars its ’70s edge. Watch for the surprise villain, Tilda Swinton, to get a best supporting actress nomination.

So what are the movies I am salivating to see in December?

“Atonement” – The “Pride and Prejudice” team returns with another film based on a book in “Atonement.” Keira Knightley brings back her period-piece charm with director Joe Wright’s help.

“I Am Legend” – Okay, confession time – I am not a big fan of Will Smith, but I am an avid follower of author Richard Matheson. His book, “I Am Legend,” was the basis for the 1964 flick “The Last Man on Earth,” and the 1971 Charlton Heston film, “The Omega Man.” This new version has Smith as seemingly the last human being on Earth who must survive vampires and other-worldly creatures.

“Sweeney Todd” – I saw the Broadway play last year with the great Patti Lupone, and since then, I was imagining how director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp will catapult this dark musical onto the big screen. The previews look good, and I will be first in line at the box-office when this film opens.

“Charlie Wilson’s War” – What’s an Oscar season without a movie with Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts? Well, good news – both actors team up with director Mike Nichols to bring George Crile’s excellent novel to life about politics, Afghanistan, and lots of women.