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Friday, Dec. 23, 2005

Toast New Yearat the movies

Anyone preferring a more sedate New Year's Eve instead of a night on the town need look no further than Countdown Movie Festival 2006 at Shinjuku's Milano-za theater, Dec. 31. Not only are revelers guaranteed a seat, but they can also catch three films that have yet to be released in Japan. The films, which will be screened 10 p.m.-5 a.m., include "Syriana," a political thriller written by Stephen Gaghan ("Traffic"). The film was recently nominated for two Golden Globes, including Best Supporting Actor for George Clooney, who also executive produces. Clooney plays a betrayed CIA agent in this exploration into how major corporations have corrupted politics in their pursuit of Middle East oil.

Also on the bill is "North Country," in which Charlize Theron once again tackles a gritty role, this time playing a woman miner in Minnesota. Though fictionalized, the story was inspired by the first woman to bring a major sexual harassment case in the United States.

On a lighter note, the family adventure caper "The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D" (dubbed in Japanese) from director Robert Rodriguez ("Spy Kids") follows a 10-year-old boy and his two imaginary friends. Trailers of movies to be released in 2006 will also be shown.

Countdown Movie Festival 2006 takes place Dec. 31 at Shinjuku Milano-za theater. For directions, visit tokyucinemas.net/shinjuku (Japanese only). Tickets are 3,000 yen in advance from Ticket PIA or 3,500 yen at the door. Since sake will be served, only people over 18 will be granted admission.

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