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Opening Wednesday, Nov. 26: 'Australia' and more

Aussie Baz Luhrmann directs Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in Australia.

Twentieth Century Fox

Aussie Baz Luhrmann directs Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in Australia.

Hollywood sets out next week's entrees early, a day before Thanksgiving feasts and football will keep many folks lounging at home.

Three movies debut Wednesday, a lazy Susan of offerings for various tastes.

Australia (PG-13) is for viewers with hearty appetites, reportedly clocking in at more than three hours. Baz Luhrmann's movie combines two dependable genres — Westerns and war — with two photogenic stars, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

Kidman plays Lady Sarah Ashley, a British aristocrat who inherits a cattle ranch Down Under shortly before World War II. Jackman comes with the deal as Drover, a hunky cowpoke determined to drive a herd to market because that's what cowpokes do. Sarah helps, since everyone else has quit or gone to war and Drover looks mighty fine in his chaps.

Four Christmases (PG-13) is fluffy, not stuffy. Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn (who has watched the Oscars on TV) play a married couple traditionally skipping out of family holidays. They get caught, and since divorce runs in their families, they're stuck with four dysfunctional homes to visit.

Transporter 3 (R) is another gut-puncher starring Jason Statham, an underrated action star. Statham returns as Frank Martin, whose job is transporting dangerous cargo wherever the Mob sends him. Kind of like FedEx with guns, contraband and lax traffic laws. Consider this the movie menu's fruitcake: hard to swallow.

Reviews of Australia and Four Christmases will be published Wednesday on Etc., Page 2B.

Steve Persall, Times film critic

Opening Wednesday, Nov. 26: 'Australia' and more 11/19/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 3:30am]
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