Cinema: Schemes And Dreams for Christmas

On Santa's list: a Mafia don, a Master of the Universe and a De Niro Oscar?

Christmas films come in two basic shapes: books and toys. The toys -- doll babies like Home Alone and cuddly creatures like Edward Scissorhands -- may mop up at the box office. But prestige is a Hollywood product too; it can be cashed in for Oscars if enough critics and Motion Picture Academy voters are impressed by what they see. So lauded literary properties like Hamlet and The Sheltering Sky become ambitious films. Herewith, three bookish films hoping for a shelf life that extends past New Year's:


They were like the Kennedys of Massachusetts, an immigrant clan...

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