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Winter movies roll in like a 800-lb. gorilla

‘King Kong’ and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ arrive for the holiday season
/ Source: msnbc.com

It’s holiday season, which means Oscar bait will be coming your way fast and furious. From Heath Ledger’s award-worthy turn in “Brokeback Mountain” to Steven Spielberg’s race to finish the likely Oscar best-picture nominee “Munich,” much of what comes to theaters in the next month and a half is what you’ll see on those Oscar ballots.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be blockbusters. One of the biggest is coming your way on Dec. 14 as Peter Jackson unleashes “King Kong.” Can the film live up to his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Could it even vie for Oscar?

How about turning a series of beloved children’s books into movies? No, not Harry Potter. These books star a talking lion named Aslan and are widely thought to be a retelling of the Christ story. Will “The Chronicles of Narnia” prove as popular as Harry and his pals?

Some good small films emerge as Scarlett Johansson emerges as a new Woody Allen muse in “Match Point,” and George Clooney takes possible steps towards an Oscar nomination in “Syriana.” Yes, the Oscar race heats up, my friends, but at least now we’ll have something to keep us warm this winter.

NEW YORK - JULY 18: (U.S. TABS OUT) Actor Billy Bob Thornton appears onstage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios July 18, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)Scott Gries / Getty Images North America
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Paramount Pictures
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ENCINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actors William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman arrive at B.B. King's 80th birthday celebration at the home of Sam and Mary Haskell on September 20, 2005 in Encino, California. Funds raised from the event will go towards the new B.B. King Museum currently being built in Indianola, Mississippi. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Felicity Huffman;William H. MacyAmanda Edwards / Getty Images North America
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LOS ANGELES - JUNE 3: Actress Diane Keaton tours the Ennis-Brown House during the press conference held by the National Historic Preservation that named the Ennis-Brown House one of America's most endangered historic places on June 3, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. The grandest of Frank Lloyd Wright's textile block houses, the 1924 Ennis-Brown House requires a full restoration of $15 million to stabilize it from falling down the Los Feliz hillside. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)Michael Buckner / Getty Images North America
Universal Pictures
Lorne Michaels, left, and Carl Reiner, right, applaud Mark Twain Prize recipient Steve Martin after Martin was presented with the award Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005, at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP
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The Weinstein Company
LONDON - OCTOBER 14: (UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS OUT) Actor Daniel Craig is unveiled as the new actor to play the legendary British secret agent James Bond 007 in the 21st Bond film Casino Royale, at HMS President, St Katharine's Way on October 14, 2005 in London, England. Speculation as to who might replace Pierce Brosnan (who played Bond from 1995-2002) has been fierce, with Clive Owen, Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Colin Salmon, Colin Farrell and Goran Visnjic in the running, but the most likely candidates were whittled down to Craig and Henry Cavill until today's decision. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Daniel CraigDave Hogan / Getty Images Europe
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