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SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2006
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Daniel Craig plays James Bond in the Sony Pictures film that opens Friday.
Casino Royale
Daniel Craig plays James Bond in the Sony Pictures film that opens Friday.

Best for last?
Bond, Balboa and a plump pig among year-end movie releases

By Kate Klepper
DAILY Staff Writer

kate.klepper@decaturdaily.com · 340-2449

Occompanying every Thanksgiving is the release of dozens of the year's best films.

Some for 2006 will put you in the Christmas spirit and some will keep you on the edge of your seat. There are comedies, thrillers, romances and fact-based thinkers.

You can become enveloped in the stories of a British spy, championship boxer, rising pop music group, politician and even a clever arachnoid.

So after you're stuffed with stuffing, load the minivan with your out-of-town family and friends and head to the theater to take in one of this year's best films.

Holiday themes

"Hollywood has outdone itself on Christmas spirit," said David Germain, movie writer for The Associated Press.

While there are always a couple holiday-themed films released in time for Christmas, there are a half-dozen this year.

Of this year's selections, "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" is expected to shine. And its G rating promises fun for the whole family.

Tim Allen returns as St. Nick. He's trying to save Christmas as it's been overtaken by Jack Frost (Martin Short) and renamed "Frostmas."

If Allen wasn't funny enough in the first two films, Short is sure to earn a chuckle or two.

Old favorite

James Bond is back, but in "Spy vs. Spy: Casino Royale" Daniel Craig plays agent 007 before he was a smooth-talking, martini-swilling heartthrob. The film is based on Ian Fleming's first Bond tale and is rated PG-13.

The British spy even falls in love with the wrong woman.

"She breaks his heart," said Eva Green, the actress playing the British treasury official who has a fling with Bond then flings him out the door. "I think this is when he becomes Bond as a womanizer and a flirt, because he is heartbroken from this lost relationship."

For the family

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Charlotte’s Web
Julia Roberts, Robert Redford and Oprah Winfrey lend their voices to the half live-action, half animated movie version of E.B.White’s beloved story. It opens Dec. 20.
An all-star cast loan their voices and talents for a half live-action, half animated version of E.B. White's beloved story "Charlotte's Web."

The tale surrounds a clever spider who helps her barnyard pig friend avoid his fate of becoming the family's next meal.

Dakota Fanning leads the human cast, and Julia Roberts, Robert Redford and Oprah Winfrey lend their voices to animated characters. Both adults and children will enjoy this G-rated film that's perfect for the entire family, but if you watch it right after Thanksgiving dinner, you might feel guilty about all the ham you just ate.

If you loved the first four sequels

Attention Stallone fans: "Rocky" is back for the fifth time.

In "Rocky Balboa," a reprise of the 1976 film "Rocky," Sylvester Stallone plays the aging boxer tossing around the idea of returning to the ring.

This film, rated PG, is perfect for the father who still talks about his high school days on the football field, and son who will soon take that field wearing his dad's old jersey number.

The thinker

"Bobby" packs a serious punch and an all-star cast.

"Writer, director and co-star Emilio Estevez mixes real life and make-believe with the story of 22 people present at the hotel the night Robert Kennedy was assassinated," said Germain.

Perfect for politicos, history buffs or anyone who enjoys a good drama, the R-rated film features the talents of Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Anthony Hopkins, Lindsay Lohan and Laurence Fishburne.

Get serious

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Courtesy Photo
In “The Pursuit of Happyness,”Will Smith plays a struggling salesman who takes custody of his son (Jaden Smith, the actor’s real-life son) as he’s poised to begin a life-changing professional endeavor.
If you're looking for a heartfelt film sure to set the waterworks into motion check out "The Pursuit of Happyness."

Will Smith stars as a struggling father who winds up on the street with his son. As a homeless family the pair learn life lessons of love, faith, hard work and values.

Rated PG-13 this emotional drama will teach its audience what's truly important in life.

Laugh 'til you cry

"Deck the Halls" is another holiday-themed film that's sure to keep you in stitches.

Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito star as feuding neighbors battling over tacky Christmas decor.

This PG comedy is suitable for the whole family and includes humor all age groups can appreciate.

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