Holiday Movie Preview 2000


Holiday Film Faves
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Bounce, and Quills

by Beth Rowen

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Opens December 8
Ang Lee's latest film landed awards and raves at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, and is widely expected to be the sleeper hit of the 2000 winter film season. No small feat considering the dialogue is in Mandarin with English subtitles. Choreographed by The Matrix's Yuen Wo Ping, Crouching Tiger boasts unprecedented action scenes. Upon his retirement, martial arts master Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) passes on his 400-year-old mystical sword to his young protégé, Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh). She goes into full-throttle fighting mode when the sword is stolen.

 
Proof of Life
Opens December 8
This is the movie that set the gossip machines in full motion, reportedly sparking a romance between Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe, thus ending the marriage of Ryan and Dennis Quaid. The film is based on a true story, which was chronicled in a 1998 Vanity Fair article. Ryan plays the wife of an American engineer (David Morse) who's kidnapped while erecting a dam in South America. Frustrated that her husband's employer won't pay the ransom, Alice hires professional negotiator Terry Thorne (Crowe) to take matters in his own hands. Alice and Terry fall in love, complicating the mission.

 
Cast Away
Opens December 12
Believe it or not, Cast Away was conceived long before Survivor-mania swept the country. The pairing of Tom Hanks and Forrest Gump director Robert Zemekis may create another frenzy—or at least strong Oscar buzz. Hanks plays a Fed Ex employee whose chartered plane crashes, leaving him stranded on a deserted island. He struggles to survive and maintain his sanity throughout his years of solitude. DreamWorks agreed to suspend production on the film for a year so Hanks could shed nearly 50 pounds and assume an emaciated, grizzled appearance. Helen Hunt plays his girlfriend, who assumes he perished in the accident.

 
Chocolat
Opens December 15
Oscar-nominated director Lasse Hallström (Cider House Rules) brings another novel to the big screen. This time it's Joanne Harris' 1999 book, Chocolat. Juliette Binoche plays a mysterious single mother who moves to a small French town and tempts the residents with her rich confections. While some consider her scandalous, Johnny Depp's character can't resist her or her tasty treats.

 
Family Man
Opens December 15
Téa Leoni's first film since giving birth in 1999 is expected to propel her to A-list status. She plays a wife and mother who was involved with Nicolas Cage 13 years ago as a college student. Cage, who dumped her to pursue his high-stakes career, wakes up one morning and is shocked to discover he's married to Leoni and living in suburbia as a family man. Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) directs.