This series highlights the best movies debuting in theaters this month.
December sees the release of some big time Oscar buzz movies, and a monumental cinematic event nerds like me have been waiting decades for: ALVIN & THE CHIP– joking, it’s STAR WARS time folks. Finally! We will see the continuing story of our favourite heroes from a long time ago.
With a few options to filter through I’ve rated the anticipation for several releases. There are also on-the-fence inclusions, as well as big releases I’m going to go ahead and let slip/through the cracks.
If you’re only watching one movie at the cinema this month (do I even need to say it) make it STAR WARS!!! Cinephiles, check out THE HATEFUL EIGHT… if you’re lucky enough to be in a city playing Tarantino’s latest during its initial release. Extra lucky, if it’s the 70mm print.
Now, let’s breakdown December’s releases.
*Limited Release* Rising young talent Dane DeHaan (CHRONICLE, PLACE BEYOND THE PINES) stars as James Dean. This story explores the infamous actor’s relationship with a Life Magazine photographer (Robert Pattinson). The life of Dean is the most intriguing element in this character piece.
The trailer gave me GREMLINS vibes. Every now and again, there comes a nasty Holiday treat. This guilty pleasure features an enormous horned demonic looking creature and a horde of other little ghoulies. KRAMPUS looks like a b-movie done right,and should be lots of fun for genre fans.
THE BIG SHORT
This intriguing character piece follows the economic downfall and those who bet against it. An amazing all-star cast leads the way… with retro-bad ARGO-like haircuts. The impressive Dream Team roster includes Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling. Umm, ‘Nuff Said(?).
THE DANISH GIRL
Coming hot off the heels of his Oscar-winning portrayal of Stephen Hawking, Eddie Redmayne (THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING) stars as a transgender man transitioning into womanhood decades ago. Award buzz from early festival screenings indicate this drama is a heavy hitter. Alicia Vikander (EX MACHINA, MAN FROM UNCLE) apparently steals the show with her own Oscar-worthy performance.
*Limited Release* Jared Hess, director of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, returns to the absurdity with this dysfunctional comedy about a small-town pastor who hires a self-proclaimed Bibilical archaeologist (Sam Rockwell) to find some holy relics. When Rockwell doesn’t find anything sacred, he bumbles around trying to convince the pastor otherwise. The premise sounds just ridiculous enough that this could be a hidden gem in the making. Comedic oddballs like Will Forte, Jemaine Clement, and Danny McBride join in the fun.
IN THE HEART OF THE SEA
This is the story that inspired MOBY DICK. Chris Hemsworth steps away from Marvel for a second to lead this true adventure of man versus nature – specifically a giant whale. Ron Howard directs this big budget spectacle. The early trailers were quite impressive suggesting an exciting tale of sacrifice and survival.
*Limited Release* The photography is glorious. The atmospheric trailers for this violent take on MACBETH are incredible. Michael Fassbender stars in this battle filled version of a complex thriller also focused on treachery. Astounding talent, Marion Cotillard, portrays Lady MacBeth in what should be a fantastic adaptation of the Bard’s Tale.
NERD ALERT: The director, Fassbender, and Cotillard reunite for ASSASSIN’S CREED. Get a good look at the visuals promised to what could be the first breakthrough video game – one that gets the critic’s attention too.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
‘Nuff said… If you don’t know. You don’t know.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT
*Limited Release* The next film from Quentin Tarantino initial limited release includes a special 70mm Roadshow presentation. That’s old school incredible. This time around the mad scientist / writer / director tackles the Western genre again, in his usual anything-other-than-typical approach. 8 strangers are held up during a snowstorm, with a tempting bounty standing between them. This highly anticipated feature stars the likes of Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Will Smith stars in this important drama. The true story follows a doctor studying the dire effects of football on its athletes. Threatening the livelihood of a billion dollar industry, just may threaten his own life. The trailer makes the drama feel exciting. Rising talent Gugu Mbatha-Raw (BEYOND THE LIGHTS) also stars alongside Smith.
David O. Russell’s (SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, THREE KINGS, THE FIGHTER) next collaboration with Jennifer Lawrence looks to follow the same trend as their previous endeavors. Translation: a stylish character piece with intense drama. This true story follows a super successful entrepreneur in the early days of The Shopping Channel, as she struggles to pursue her business dreams. Knowing Russell, the title of this film is meant ironically.
*December 30th* This strange looking animated feature could be the weirdness we need to see this year. The story is approached as if these were real actors, while in reality they are stop-motion (? computer?) animation, with visible seams allowing for maneuverability. All that really needs to be said about this quirky new tale is: it is written by genius satirist Charlie Kaufmann (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND).
ON THE FENCE
NOT INTERESTED (a.K.A. SLIPPING THROUGH)
What do you think?
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