Thanksgiving break is a time for many Yalies to go home, see old friends, reunite with much-missed pets, and eat a whole lot of turkey (or its vegetarian equivalent). But another relaxing holiday activity to reconnect the hardworking college student with the real world is a trip to the old neighborhood movie theater. A number of big and smaller productions will be released over Thanksgiving break, and one of them might just fit the bill for a lazy, post-gorging afternoon.
Opening Nov. 22, “Die Another Day,” the 20th installment in the James Bond legacy, stars Piece Brosnan in his fourth Bond role, and is directed by first-time Bond auteur Lee Tomahori. Complimented by Tomahori’s (“Mulholland Falls”) edgy style, the movie takes on a darker, more sober tone than usual, as the first minutes show us the famous secret agent being tortured and then imprisoned by some shady North Koreans. Halle Berry luxuriates in her role as Bond’s match in skill, style and sex, rather than a frivolous sidekick. But modern Bond lovers, do not fear — “Die Another Day” will not fail your action-packed expectations. It is filled with more action sequences, digital imagery, and beautifully choreographed violence then perhaps any previous edition of the revered series.
“The Emperor’s Club,” also opening Nov. 22, appears to offer a riff on “Dead Poets Society,” only with Kevin Kline, not Robin Williams, in the lead role. He plays a teacher in the 1970s who doggedly tries to imbue an appreciation of Roman history into one of his most stubborn pupils. The film does not, however, dwell in the worn Hollywood cliches about teacher-student interactions and their inevitable happy ending, but rather examines the psychology of an educator who wants the best for his student, and is thus blinded to other truths and mores. For the scholastic questions it asks, and for the pleasant candor of its actors and direction, “Club” may be the Thanksgiving movie for you.
The third installment in the sometimes-lauded, sometimes-panned, but always successful “Friday” series, “Friday After Next,” also opens Nov. 22. The cousins played by Ice Cube and Mike Epps are now slightly older, and living in a worn-down pad after finally moving out of Cube’s parents’ place. Set during the Christmas season, the film offers a new look at old holiday themes, as the duo’s apartment is robbed by a “ghetto Santa Claus,” who takes the presents, the rent money, and seemingly all the holiday cheer. Faced with a bleak Yuletide season, the friends get jobs as mall security guards, and the now-familiar clever comedy ensues, fueled by Ice Cube’s sharp writing. If you’ve seen the others, see it. If you haven’t seen the others, see it. Don’t wait till next Friday.
Disney’s “Treasure Planet,” opening Nov. 27, adapts Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous “Treasure Island” as a flashy fantastical space adventure. “Treasure Planet” may be interesting for its transposition of Stevenson’s 1800s high-seas adventure to an elaborate interstellar future, but more than that it may just be great fun for younger siblings, and all those young at heart. Plus, it gets a MPAA rating of PG for “adventure, action and peril.” What more could any Ivy Leaguer ask of the cinema? Happy Thanksgiving.