As the jolly Christmas carols prancing across the radio and proliferation of inflatable reindeer decorations may have hinted, the holiday season is quickly approaching. If you’re still in the planning phase, consider a box-office excursion. The current propagation of film trailers vie for attention, begging audience attendance. Additionally, this is a great familial avoidance technique: you’re still together, and luckily you don’t have to talk to one another. Check out the coming attractions and start planning. Hopefully the local theater serves alcohol…
Inside Llewyn Davis (Dec. 6): Any Coen Brothers flick is bound to please, and not surprisingly Coen Bros. long-time collaborator John Goodman appears. Throw in Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake to complete the roster. The movie follows a 1960’s folk singer Llewyn Davis (Issac). Naturally Bob Dylan (Benjamin Pike) shows up, as no folk related flick would be complete without the almighty Dylan. With the Coen Brothers writing and directing, expect a quirky and unique tale.
Out of the Furnace (Dec. 6): Christian Bale headlines in a rugged role looking as if he just wandered off the set of The Machinist. Russell Baze (Bale) is on a mission to save his brother (Casey Affleck) when he falls in with the wrong crowd. Woody Harrelson appears among the sinister thugs, and suffice it to say he isn’t simply swindling on the basketball court. A star-studded cast and violent, thought-provoking plot help this entry contend with its peers.
American Hustle (Dec. 13): Obviously Christian Bale has been busy, as he stars in another December release. Con artists Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) assist the FBI in combating the New Jersey mafia. American Hustle features a veteran cast, and audiences receive the pleasure of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence’s on-screen reunion after their marvelous performance in 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Dec. 13): If Peter Jackson’s sequel to his 2012 The Hobbit adaptation is anything like its predecessor, you’ll want to catch it on the big screen. Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman offered inspired performances, animation was top notch, and audio boomed over the surround sound. Bilbo (Freeman) and Gandalf (McKellen) continue their adventure and mission to reclaim the Dwarven mountain. The Desolation of Smaug adds Benedict Cumberbatch, Freeman’s co-star in the BBC Sherlock series, to the credits as the dragon. This should serve as decent entertainment until the third Sherlock series debuts on January 1st.
Saving Mr. Banks (Dec. 13): Mary Poppins is one of the most beloved Walt Disney flicks, and apparently there is a lesser-known production backstory. Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) worked the Disney magic convincing author Pamela Travers (Emma Thompson) to allow Poppins to fly from the page to screen. Sizing up the trailer, Hanks and Thompson should offer surprising and ultimately feel-good insight into the making of a beloved classic. Paul Giamatti lends his acting prowess as Ralph, Travers’s driver.
Nebraska (Dec. 15): This black and white flick follows Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), and son David (Will Forte) as they drive to Nebraska to supposedly retrieve a million dollars. A former SNL star, Forte assumes an unusually serious role. Bob Odenkirk of Breaking Bad acclaim stars as well. Unfortunately the trailer advertises an opening in “select theaters,” so here’s to hoping there will be a local screening.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Dec. 18): Ah, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and the gang are finally back after a lengthy respite. The sequel will show the former San Diego news team as they transition to a 24 hour news network. Although Ferrell’s antics are a tad trite, our favorite mustached anchor can’t fail to deliver bellowing laughs. Brick (Steve Carell), Brian (Paul Rudd) and Champ (David Koechner) reprise their roles as Burgundy’s supporting cast, and Veronica (Christian Applegate) is now the ex. Mrs. Burgundy. Hilarity will undoubtedly ensue. I’m Ron Burgundy?
Grudge Match (Dec. 25): Seriously, just try watching the trailer and say this doesn’t look hilarious. Robert De Niro vs Sylvester Stallone in a movie which (ironically) parodies Rocky? Sure, it might come across as slightly clichéd, but it should provide a one-hit-punch of laughs. Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin as opposing trainers boosts the already strong humor potential.
47 Ronin (Dec. 25): Keanu Reeves strikes again in what looks to be a bad-ass martial arts flick. The premise, 47 samurai out for revenge and vastly outnumbered (no spoilers, the trailer makes this readily apparent) has promise, and the special effects seem luscious. Still, martial arts movies often accompany mixed reception, though the eye-candy fight sequences alone, especially in 3D should please.
The Wolf of Wall Street (Dec. 25): “Martin Scorsese directs, and Leonardo DiCaprio stars” is all that really must be said of The Wolf of Wall Street. DiCaprio stars as a stockbroker who incites trouble and, according to the preview, some epic partying. As such, it’s only fitting Jonah Hill co-stars. A solid supporting cast, unusual Wall Street perspective, and Scorsese’s directional work make this a promising holiday release.
Aside from the box-office attractions, retailers will be offering a slew of DVD and Blu-Ray deals, further expanding the movie night options. Excited for one of the above movies or have another film dropping that you’d like to see? Leave a comment or hit up the twitter @mitchellclong and as always, happy viewing.