Ultimate Fall Movie Preview 13’ – Christmas Edition
With Black Friday firmly behind us, all attention moves to Christmas and what the New Year might bring from the world of Hollywood. For those that are still asleep from the turkey on Thanksgiving, this time of year offers numerous opportunities to see quality films and while there has only been a few thus far, more are coming the rest of this month and next. And like in November, films released in or around the holidays will fall into two categories; Oscar bait or popcorn flicks. Anything else will be missed and ultimately forgotten unless it shows up on a ballot, so I won’t pretend to care about those films. Instead, focus on my short list, which I hope you will find both informative and intriguing for these final days of 2013.
“Out of the Furnace” (Dec.6th)
Guaranteed not to be on the radar of most people reading this, this film has the potential for some gold come Oscar time. That’s just my gut feeling, but one I feel is supported given the cast involved. Because anytime Christian Bale is involved, there will be a certain quality, so to then add in a Casey Affleck is brilliant from where I sit. And I’m not even mentioning Woody Harrelson, who judging by the trailer, is primed for a supporting nod from the role he looks to be playing in this one. So, we’ll see, but with a story like the one here based on revenge and thrills that come with that, I think this will be a fun mystery-driven drama to watch unfold on the big screen.
“Inside Llewyn Davis” (Dec.20th)
Believe it or not this made my list despite the Coen Brother’s being attached to it. I mean, nothing against Joel and Ethan Coen, but at some point, all of their films will merge together into one given how similar they all feel. I don’t know, maybe I’m still bent over the ending of “No Country for Old Men” or how close they came to something special with “True Grit.” I guess eventually I would just like to make it all the way through one of their films without getting irritated. And maybe, just maybe I get my wish with this one, which not only features a dynamic cast, but appears to also have one of those compelling stories based around music that wins over a lot of hearts. That’s the definition of Oscar bait and why I can easily see this film being nominated in multiple categories this season raising eyebrow after eyebrow.
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” (Dec. 20th)
For someone that relishes in comedies that are over the top, this is one series I just don’t get. In fact, I don’t know why or how it ever made it to another film. Well, actually, I take that back. Will Ferrell is how it made it to another film, but as great as he is, he cannot carry an entire film. And at some point, when do characters like this get old? Leave it at one and move on to bigger and better things. It’s not like the original was some great hit. It was good, sure, but not good enough to earn a sequel in my mind. I’ve said it before; comedies rarely work a second or third time. Just ask Todd Phillips, who after the huge success of “The Hangover,” slowly went the other direction with the next two. Sure, “The Hangover” series will go down as probably the most successful comedic trilogy of all time, but when you compare the second and third to the first, you start to realize why sequels don’t work in this genre. And judging by the trailer for this one, I just don’t see how this will ever be deemed a huge success in the end.
“American Hustle” (Dec. 20th)
I watch this trailer and just smile. If that doesn’t sum up my feeling for this film, I don’t know what does as this has the look for something special. Yeah, it doesn’t hurt that director David O. Russell is behind the camera either, the same guy who brought us “The Fighter” and last year’s indie darling “Silver Linings Playbook.” But, it’s not just that, as any crime drama will get my juices going considering one of my favorite films just happens to be “Goodfellas.” And like the Martin Scorsese classic, this too has a cast worth noting with names like Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams and the dynamic duo of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper all involved. So I look forward to seeing what Russell does with this film in a genre that isn’t always as easy to love or find success in.
“Saving Mr. Banks” (Dec. 20th)
From the side of Disney that people forget about, given all the animation being thrown around, is a film that looks rather intriguing. Maybe it’s the time period that’s represented or maybe it’s the fact it has my second favorite actor in Tom Hanks, but I think this has a chance at being something special. I mean, the story looks to be one a lot of people will want to know, when you figure it all centers around one of Disney’s iconic characters, Mary Poppins. That’s big stuff and the reason why I think this will wind up on a lot of ballots come Oscar time which I think Disney and director John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side”) might be counting on. At least that’s my hunch given how long it’s been since they had a “true“ live-action contender with a cast and story worthy of praise.
“Lone Survivor” (Dec. 27th)
On paper, this looks like nothing more than another story around a group of SEALs that encounter a challenging situation. And while that might seem familiar to a lot of people, this one doesn’t have such a happy ending. That’s fine by me, because not every film needs that and really when it’s a story worth telling, who really cares. So, I’m glad Peter Berg (“The Kingdom”) picked this one up to show audiences, for I can’t imagine a more exciting director behind the camera than him. He goes after at in a big way and with Berg also writing the screenplay, I can only imagine what the final result will be. Because with the surprising success of “Zero Dark Thirty” last year, we now can consider films like “Lone Survivor” during Oscar time, which I think it great when you figure there is truly no better drama to watch on the big screen than the kind found in films like this.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (Dec. 27th)
Call this my guilt pleasure of the month if you want, but given my love for Marty, I can’t wait for this one. Throw in the fact Leonardo DiCaprio is again hooked up with renowned director and this has a chance to not only surprise some people, but make them go back and watch earlier Scorsese films. Because at the end of the day, Martin Scorsese just wants to entertain audiences and give them something to talk about. Call it a shallow observation if you want, but not every director can pull that off virtually every time he steps behind a camera the way Scorsese has during his entire career. Sure, it hasn’t always been perfect, but I guarantee it will be fun to watch in some way or fashion, which is exactly what I expect from this black comedy at the end of the day.
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