Wild (Jean-Marc Vallée) Rated R – December 5 – A chronicle of one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent catastrophe. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann, and Michiel Huisman
Well Dallas Buyers Club was a good film, and a year later the director is back with another character piece that hopes to bring Reese Witherspoon back into the Oscar spotlight. What Wild will really depend on the most is on how well paced and energetic the end product will be.
The Pyramid (Grégory Levasseur) Rated R – December 5 – A team of U.S. archaeologists unearths an ancient pyramid buried deep beneath the Egyptian desert. As they search the pyramid’s depths, they become hopelessly lost in its dark and endless catacombs. Searching for a way out, they become desperate to seek daylight again. They come to realize they aren’t just trapped, they are being hunted. Starring Ashley Hinshaw, James Buckley, and Denis O’Hare
I thought As Above, So Below was a decent claustrophobia horror, but the found footage aspect was the only thing holding the movie back. And here we have the same concept, except in an ancient pyramid. I can only foresee the same outcome for The Pyramid, which is a shame because a maze like horror story inside a pyramid would be quite the adventure in theaters.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (Ridley Scott) Not Yet Rated – December 12 – An account of Moses’ hand in leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt. Starring Aaron Paul, Christian Bale, Sigourney Weaver, and Joel Edgerton
Ridley Scott has not been doing quite well in my mind. Last year’s The Counselor and then Prometheus before that, yeesh. Perhaps reverting back to a sword and sandal epic will feel more familiar to the Gladiator director. The cast is sure there, but how will Ridley execute this time around? It sure looks beautiful, and with the explosion of faith based films, Exodus is surely going to see its fair share of ticket sales this holiday season.
Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson) Not Yet Rated – December 12 – In Los Angeles in 1970, drug-fueled detective Larry “Doc” Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend. Starring Josh Brolin, Jena Malone, Sasha Pieterse, and Reese Witherspoon
It’s been two years since we saw Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which is too long without a film from this expert filmmaker (Magnolia; Boogie Nights; There Will Be Blood). There isn’t much known about PTA’s upcoming feature, but I trust that it will be handled with special care.
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (Peter Jackson) – December 17 – The Company of Thorin has reached Smaug’s lair; but can Bilbo and the Dwarves reclaim Erebor and the treasure? And, if so, can they hold on to it? Starring Martin Freeman, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Armitage, and Evangeline Lilly
Peter Jackson hasn’t really shown us that he is the same director as the Oscar snatcher who delivered us The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The same epic scale and action is all there, but there doesn’t seem to be any heart and soul behind this Hobbit trilogy. Hell, Bilbo was hardly a character in his own sequel. Let’s hope The Battle of Five Armies refocuses on the Hobbit and less about the Dwarf otherwise we’re just going to sit through another three hour repetition of Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield going on about his right as king, blah blah blah.
Annie (Will Gluck) Rated PG – December 19 – Business tycoon and mayoral candidate Benjamin Stacks launches a campaign to take in Annie, a young girl who has been living with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan since her parents left her as a baby. Starring Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Cameron Diaz
The first trailer for this movie absolutely scared the expectations for Annie right out of me, but the second had me a little more optimistic. I believe in Will Gluck (Fired Up; Easy A; Friends with Benefits), but I don’t know what movie Cameron Diaz signed up for. I’m not particularly a fan of Wallis, and so I’m keeping my expectations low enough to the point that I might walk away indifferent after I see it. (Watch the trailer)
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (Shawn Levy) – December 19 – Larry leaves New York City for London on a quest to save the magic before it is gone forever. Starring Robin Williams, Dan Stevens, Ben Stiller, and Rebel Wilson
The first Night at the Museum had its charms, but the second really pushed the fantasy to its limits. Presenting more of the same of trying to save his museum friends, I don’t think Night at the Museum 3 is going to be really anything special. More importantly, who asked this to become a trilogy? The sequel made considerably less money than the first by almost $150 million. But as one of Robin William’s last films to release in theaters, some may flock out to see it.
Paddington (Paul King) – Not Yet Rated – December 25 – A young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family, who read the label around his neck (‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’) and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist… Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, and Julie Walters
Again, not quite sure who asked for this or what inspired the studios to revamp this franchise(?), but I don’t think anyone is going to be running to the theater in anticipation for Paddington. Paul King’s big screen debut in the US isn’t going to hurt his career by any means, but depending on how well this movie isn’t a disaster will determine if he’ll have another shot with something bigger.
American Sniper (Clint Eastwood) – Not Yet Rated – December 25 – A Navy SEAL recounts his military career, which includes more than 150 confirmed kills. Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, and Luke Grimes
Jersey Boys was a big flop, earning $46 million domestically, but perhaps his second movie this year can make up for the loss. So the man doesn’t know how to create a compelling musical biopic, but Eastwood does know a thing or two about America and war. Bradley Cooper will do just fine, but it’s the well the subject matter is handled that will make or break this movie.
Big Eyes (Tim Burton) Not Yet Rated – December 25 –A drama centered on the awakening of the painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s. Starring Amy Adams, Krysten Ritter, and Christoph Waltz
The way I see it, Tim Burton has been in a lull since Sweeny Todd back in 2007. Frankenweenie and Dark Shadows, as well as Alice in Wonderland, regardless of its ginormous box office haul, have all been pretty mediocre. It would seem Mr. Burton wants to create a more grounded story about a painter. How much of the Tim Burton polish will this film be subject to has yet to be unseen, but we can tell by its first image that it will definitely have that gothic influence in the paintings.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Steve Pink) Not Yet Rated – December 25 – When Lou, who has become the “father of the Internet,” is shot by an unknown assailant, Jacob and Nick fire up the time machine again to save their friend. Starring Angela Kerecz, Adam Scott, Gillian Jacobs, Chevy Chase, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, and Rob Corddry
We have yet another comedy earning a sequel we don’t necessarily need. The first Hot Tub Time Machine is great, but to do it over again may be stretching the gag a bit too thin. I’m glad to see that they are at least not copying the same formula, and steering away from the romantic comedy angle to a more zany comedy adventure. But without John Cusack, I’m not sure how well this trio will hold up.
Into the Woods (Rob Marshall) Not Yet Rated – December 25 – A witch conspires to teach important lessons to various characters of popular children’s stories including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. Starring Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt, and Meryl Streep
Rob Marshall has a keen eye for great cinematography sans Pirates of the Caribbean, and adapting the popular Broadway musical with the help of the house that the Mouse built should be quite experience in theaters. Boasting a fantastic cast, I am looking forward to Into the Woods and the songs they will be belting out. (Watch the trailer)
Unbroken (Angelina Jolie) Not Yet Rated – December 25 – A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II. Starring Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, and Jai Courtney
I never saw In the Land of Blood and Honey but I had heard it was so-so, but it’s not a film anyone really talks about. Again, another biopic period piece screaming to get Academy voters’ attention. I think Unbroken will be OK, but it won’t be achieving Oscar this year by any means.
The Interview (Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen) – December 25 – Dave Skylark and his producer Aaron Rapoport run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un. Starring James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan, and Diana Bang
I don’t even know how this movie was green-lit. It looks terrible and the concept is really stupid. The fact that it was delayed so that they wouldn’t offend the North Koreans is a testament to how thought out this production was.
And there you have it. Which movies are you looking forward to seeing this summer?
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All plot synopses were found via IMDb.com.