Mystery, death, a Broadway flop mark the holiday season

As winter break approaches, some of the best movies of 2005 are on their way as well. Here are a few of the films you might want to check out during the break.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” – Dec. 9

In this adaptation of the classic CS Lewis novel, four children come across a mysterious wardrobe that leads to a magical land called Narnia. The land is ruled by the malicious White Witch, who has cast upon it a never-ending winter. In order to defeat the Witch and free Narnia, the four children must join forces with the god of Narnia, a Lion named Aslan.

Aslan is voiced by Liam Neeson and the film is sprinkled with first-rate special effects. Oscar-nominated composer Harry Gregson-Williams has provided a powerful score to accompany the visuals.

“King Kong” – Dec. 14

With “King Kong,” Peter Jackson is bringing a childhood dream to the screen. When he was just nine years old, Jackson was inspired by the original 1933 “King Kong.” Now, the director of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy is updating the film with his special effects prowess. The film is still set in the 1930s, but today’s advances in effects combined with the timeless story has set the stage for a memorable film.

“King Kong” follows filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black) and his crew as they travel to a mysterious island to shoot their new movie. They soon find out that a legendary beast lives among the island’s natives, and he has a particular penchant for Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), Denham’s leading lady.

“Munich” – Jan. 6

This film is set in the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics, where 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. After the killings, an Israeli Mossad agent (Eric Bana) is hired to systematically kill each of the Palestinian terrorists involved.

“Munich” is directed by Steven Spielberg, and many already consider it a frontrunner for the Best Picture award at the Oscars in March, despite the fact that it hasn’t even been released yet. The combination of Spielberg’s direction and the explosive political material could spell a huge success.

“The Producers” – Jan. 13

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick star in this adaptation of the 2001 Broadway hit. “The Producers” won 12 Tony Awards that year, including a Best Actor award for Lane. The story follows a down-on-his-luck producer (Lane) and his accountant (Broderick), who come up with a scheme to profit from a Broadway flop. When their sure-fire disaster, “Springtime for Hitler,” is actually a surprise success, they find themselves in way over their heads.

“The Producers” actually originated in 1968 and starred Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel in the title roles. It wasn’t a musical back then, but the original film can be found on many lists of the greatest comedies of all time.

“The New World” – Jan. 13

Here, acclaimed director Terrance Malick returns for just his fifth film in 36 years. “The New World” stars Colin Farrell as John Smith and introduces Q’Orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas in a new twist on the classic story.

The film deals with Smith and his fellow explorers as they clash with the Native Americans during the settlement in the 17th century. Besides trailers and posters, details about this film have been kept largely under wraps. It has the potential to go either way upon its release.

Others to watch for: “Brokeback Mountain,” “Match Point,” “Memoirs of a Geisha.”