Holiday movies, now new and improved


The holiday season brings quality cinema entries. But sometimes one leaves the theater thinking, “That was good, but it could have been better” Or perhaps, “That was good, but it could have been better if filmmakers were a little more open to other influences.”

Here, then, are a few suggestions for alternate titles, holiday hits that could have been slightly more enjoyable if only their filmmakers had paid attention to a few of the other movies out there. Hollywood executives these days like spinoffs and brand extensions, so we wouldn’t be surprised if some of these end up at the multiplex in Christmas seasons to come.

“The Werewolf of Wall Street.” Taylor Lautner stars as a charismatic Wall Street banker with a penchant for taking off his shirt on the trading floor. Lautner leads a double life as a werewolf, but that doesn’t stop him from making millions of dollars and becoming a Wall Street legend. The young hero’s life is turned upside down, though, when he meets a hedonistic trader played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who it turns out is part zombie and has been hankering for an actress who never smiles. The stakes are further raised when Lautner’s character “imprints” on DiCaprio’s unborn child, played by Jonah Hill.


PHOTOS: Movie scenes from ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

“American Hustle and Flow.” “It’s hard out here for a crimp,” Bradley Cooper raps at the beginning of this gritty street flick. And indeed, life isn’t easy for the hair-minded hero, who just wants to open a new beauty salon but finds himself unable to rustle up the cash necessary for the latest in blow-drying technology. Enter Amy Adams’ pregnant prostitute, who helps Cooper stage a bake sale at her spot outside the Lincoln Tunnel. Jennifer Lawrence has a supporting turn as a cross-dressing rap mogul.

“Blue Jasmine Is the Warmest Upstream Color.” One of the wackiest, most ambitious movies of the year. After her husband is convicted in a withering financial scandal, a refined Upper East Sider played by Cate Blanchett retreats to a mysterious pig farm, where she has a lesbian affair with someone who may or may not have the power to alter perception and identity. Things get stranger still when Sally Hawkins, playing Blanchett’s sister, begins thinking many of Blanchett’s experiences happened to her. The movie draws added attention because of a vocal offscreen he-said-she-said battle between the director and several of the pigs.

PHOTOS: Movie scenes from ‘American Hustle’

“Justin Bieber’s Believe It Or Not.” Join Justin Bieber as he narrates amazing-but-true tales about the most interesting subject out there: himself! In a series of connected shorts, Bieber describes how he is the first American ever to be elected king of China, how his pet monkey is responsible for writing all but three of his Top 10 hits and how all this time he has really been a bearded woman.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Walk With Me.” David Lynch directs this adaptation of a YA bestseller, marking a return to form for the “Eraserhead” master. As Katniss enters the Arena and seeks desperately to rack up both weapons and steely expressions, eerie events begin to occur. Red curtains falls over the forest. Peeta has an odd penchant for doughnuts. And characters start speaking Polish for no apparent reason.


“Saving Mr. Bank Job.” Coming from very different backgrounds but with a similar belief in the power of the human spirit, Walt Disney and P.L. Travers, played by Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, team to crack safes, engage in political blackmail and speak in Cockney accents. A climactic scene has the pair pulling off a major score and then escaping the police by floating away on an umbrella.

“Grudge Match Point.” Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone play young bucks very much in love with each other in this Woody Allen charmer, which is light and breezy and filled with gauzy shots of London. Matters take a dark turn, however, when Stallone begins an affair with, and in a fit of panic fatally pulls a gun on, Scarlett Johansson, who then goes on to be reincarnated as an operating system.


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