Hollywood calls on Clooney for holiday movie cheer

Fri Nov 6, 2009 8:34am EST
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And judging by what's in theaters this holiday movie season, his name is George Clooney.

Disney's release of the animated "A Christmas Carol" on Friday begins eight weeks of holiday moviegoing that brings a bag full of movies to theaters, from family friendly fare to Oscar hopefuls and this year, a lot of Clooney thrown in.

Absent from the silver screen are many other A-list stars audiences have come to expect over the holidays -- Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, Adam Sandler and Reese Witherspoon.

"Instead you have teen vampires," said Entertainment Weekly movie writer Dave Karger, referring to romance "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."

"That's the way things are going these days -- the franchise films have become the star more than the A-list actor," he said.

But that's not yet the case with Clooney. He stars in comedy "The Men Who Stare at Goats," voices the title role in animated family film "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and could earn an Oscar nomination as a corporate hatchet man in director Jason Reitman's "Up In the Air."

The other big name to watch is Meryl Streep. She also voices a role in "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and stars alongside Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin in divorce comedy "It's Complicated."

If there's any doubt the holidays -- the second-biggest movie season of the year after the summer -- are officially here, one need look no further than "A Christmas Carol," which comes with a gift -- 3D. Carrey takes on four roles in the animated movie -- Scrooge, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Christmas Yet to Come -- and nothing screams Christmas more than a retelling of this classic Dickens tale.   Continued...

<p>Actor George Clooney is shown in a scene from his new film "Up In The Air" in this undated publicity photograph. REUTERS/Dale Robinette/Paramount Pictures/Handout</p>