Reel Corner - December 2014
The Top 10 Picks for Movie Releases this Month
In between the mistletoe, shopping, wrapping, and baking, be sure to add a movie to your get-to-do list.
Among the 60-plus films being released this month, 10 were picked from different genres for you to consider. There’s a biblical epic (Exodus: Gods and Kings); a Middle-Earth ending of all endings (The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies); a fairy-tale musical (Into the Woods); and even more possible Oscar contenders (Wild, Selma, Unbroken and American Sniper).
Wild (opening December. 5) R
Who: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern; directed by Jean-Marc Valleé
What: Based on a true story, Witherspoon plays author Cheryl Strayed, who, after a traumatic experience, Decemberides to hike 1,100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail to rediscover herself. With no makeup and some physically and emotionally raw moments, Witherspoon should be a lock for a Best Actress nomination.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (opening December. 12) PG-13
Who: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, Sigourney Weaver, Aaron Paul; directed by Ridley Scott
What: Bale plays the Old Testament icon Moses in this re-telling of the epic tale of pharaohs, Jewish slaves, plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, all guided by the capable Ridley Scott. Expect lots of computer generated imagery.
Inherent Vice (opening December. 12) R
Who: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Jena Malone, Sasha Pieterse; directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
What: Based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon, the dark comedy is set in 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles, and follows detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Phoenix) as he investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (opening December. 19) PG-13
Who: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans; directed by Peter Jackson
What: In the final “Hobbit” installment, Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) and the dwarves are forced into war against an armed flock of combatants and the terrifying dragon Smaug, hellbent on destroying Middle-Earth.
Into the Woods (opening Christmas Day) PG
Who: Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine; directed by Rob Marshall
What: The big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s classic Broadway musical boasts an all-star cast of fairytale characters, who sing their way into the woods to look for their happy ending. Color it a Best Picture contender. And, oh…Chris Pine as prince charming!
Unbroken (opening Christmas Day) PG-13
Who: Jack O'Connell, Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, Jai Courtney; directed by Angelina Jolie
What: This drama tells the true story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, who survives a plane crash at sea and is eventually taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II. As Jolie’s second directorial effort, she may be on her way to directorial greatness.
American Sniper (opening Christmas Day) rated R
Who: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller; directed by Clint Eastwood
What: Yet another true story brought to the big screen, this drama is about Navy S.E.A.L. Chris Kyle and his military career, which includes more than 150 confirmed kills as a sharpshooter. Hollywood and the Academy love Eastwood and his war movies.
Selma (opening Christmas Day) PG-13
Who: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Oprah Winfrey; directed by Ava DuVernay
What: A look at Martin Luther King, President Lyndon B. Johnson and the 1960s civil rights’ marches that changed America. With the likes of Winfrey and Producer Brad Pitt behind Selma, you can bet this will be big come Oscar time.
Big Eyes (opening Christmas Day) PG-13
Who: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz; directed by Tim Burton
What: Big Eyes is based on a true story of Walter Keane, successful artist of the ‘50s and ‘60s painting enigmatic waifs with large eyes. I remember these paintings and had a print never knowing the truth behind the artist.
A Most Violent Year (opening December. 31) R
Who: Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaacs; directed by J C Chandler
What: Set in the early 1980s in New York City A Most Violent Year is a drama following the lives of an immigrant family as they try to achieve the American Dream, only to be threatened by the violence, Decemberay and corruption around them. Chastain brings life intensity to every film she touches.