November 10, 2013

Holiday movie round-up

Lots of heavyweights waiting in the wings with vision of Oscar dancing in their heads.

By Joe Williams
McClatchy Newspapers

(Continued from page 1)

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Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in “Saving Mr. Banks.”

McClatchy Newspaper photos

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Meryl Streep (seated) and Julia Roberts in “August: Osage County.”

Additional Photos Below

DEC. 6

In the catalog: Scott Cooper, the director of “Crazy Heart,” tosses Christian Bale, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson into the overheated revenge flick “Out of the Furnace.”

Our wish list: This might be a good day for your turtle dove to go shopping for DVDs. We suggest “The James Dean Ultimate Collectors Edition,” with Blu-rays of the late actor’s three films (“East of Eden,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Giant”), three full-length documentaries, a 40-page book and much more. 

DEC. 13

In the catalog: Reluctant hero Bilbo Baggins and his dwarf companions confront a fire-breathing nemesis in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Cross-dressing filmmaker Tyler Perry and his oversize ego confront diminishing expectations in “A Madea Christmas.”

Our wish list: That the second “Hobbit” movie justifies dividing such a slim book into three pieces. 

DEC. 18

In the catalog: On a Wednesday when cinephiles might be hungry for substance, David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Fighter”) gambles on “American Hustle,” with his repertory company of Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Robert De Niro in a true story about the Jersey mob in the 1970s.

Our wish list: That the career-revived Russell doesn’t turn into a mook. 

DEC. 20

In the catalog: The last Friday before Christmas bestows upon us “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” with Will Ferrell as a clueless newsman. Emma Thompson is the author of “Mary Poppins,” and Tom Hanks is Walt Disney in the true story “Saving Mr. Banks.” Prehistoric creatures come to life in the 3-D “Walking With Dinosaurs.” Oscar Isaac is a Greenwich Village folk singer in the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

Our wish list: By its very existence, the long-delayed “Anchorman 2” is a de facto success. But like Ron Burgundy’s oh-so-wise sidekick Baxter the dog, we’re drooling over “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Could the Coens find a place in their film for a jazz-flute solo? 

DEC. 25

In the catalog: This year, Christmas Day belongs to the boys. Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro are punch-drunk palookas duking it out in “Grudge Match.” Idris Elba is the father of modern South Africa in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” Leonardo DiCaprio is a penny-ante pillager in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Keanu Reeves is a samurai in “47 Ronin.” Daydreaming photographer Ben Stiller imagines he’s a hero in a remake of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” And Justin Bieber imagines he’s still relevant in the concert documentary “Believe.”

Our wish list: “The Wolf of Wall Street” is lurking in the darkness, as director Martin Scorsese is rushing to groom it for release. We hope this beast has fangs. 

JAN. 10

In the catalog: Films that opened earlier on the coasts arrive in theaters in other parts of the country. Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts are feisty kin in “August: Osage County” Kate Winslet is a divorcee who swoons for escaped convict Josh Brolin in Jason Reitman’s “Labor Day.” Ralph Fiennes is an amorous Dickens in “The Invisible Woman.” Mark Wahlberg tangles with the Taliban in the true war story “Lone Survivor.” And Joaquin Phoenix is a lonely guy in love with his computer’s operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) in Spike Jonze’s “Her.”

Our wish list: That Jonze (“Adaptation”) fries our circuits. 

JAN. 16

In the catalog: With visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, filmmakers and fans will get up early this morning to unwrap the Oscar nominations. We expect to hear hosannas for holiday-season releases such as “12 Years a Slave,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “American Hustle,” “August: Osage County,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Nebraska.”

Our wish list: That there’s some love left over for earlier releases such as “Fruitvale Station,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Before Midnight,” “Mud” and “Gravity.”

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Additional Photos

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Jonah Hill, left, and Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

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Martin Freeman as the hobbit Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”

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Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin and Gattlin Griffith in “Labor Day.”

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Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.”


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