Nonstop Movies: Holiday movie preview

Thanksgiving is all about the 3 F’s – family, food and friends. But if you’re a true cinephile, you can add another F to that list – films. The holiday movie season starts this week, and as always, there are tons of films vying for your movie dollars. But while the summer movie season is all about excess and blockbusters, the holiday season is generally more subdued, with many studios opting to save their quality films for the end of the year, just in time for award season. That doesn’t mean moviegoers can’t have fun. There are definitely some mainstream popcorn crowd pleasers in this year’s batch.

So here’s a look at the holiday season films I’m most looking forward to. Which ones are you most excited about?

Nov. 27


This remake of the South Korean Park Chan Wook’s classic revenge tale starring Choi Min Sik has long been on my radar. Director Spike Lee boldly takes on the beloved Korean film with an intense Josh Brolin playing the lead, a man mysteriously imprisoned for 15 years, then suddenly released with no idea of the who or why behind his captivity. Will the American version match the original’s twisted brilliance? We shall see. I wonder if there will be any consuming of live seafood in this one. (Warning. The trailer below is the red band trailer and is NSFW)


Dec. 13

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

This second chapter of the Hobbit film trilogy continues the tale of Bilbo, Gandalf and the rest of the gang. Helmed by “The Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson, this film will no doubt be another blockbuster.


Dec. 18

“American Hustle”

From the trailer, it looks like director David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”) is channeling old-school Martin Scorsese with his story of criminals in the ‘70s. The all-star cast reunites him with actors from his previous films such as Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper. I’m a big fan of Russell’s work, and I have a feeling “American Hustle” will end up on my top 5 for the year. Please don’t disappoint me.


“Her” (limited release)

The Siri love story? Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls in love with his computer’s operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. While the subject matter may seem a bit strange (or maybe not for those who have actually tried to have a relationship with their smartphone), director Spike Jonze (“Adaptation,” “Being John Malkovich”) will surely provide an even stranger twist to an already twisted story.

Dec. 20

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”

Not every holiday season film has to be dramatic and deep. For those looking for lighter fare, the long awaited sequel to the comedy hit, “Anchorman,” opens this day. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his news gang take on the ‘80s in this highly anticipated sequel. You stay classy.


“Saving Mr. Banks”

Apparently not everything at Disney was supercalifragilisticexpialidocius while filming “Mary Poppins.” “Saving Mr. Banks” stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, the author of “Mary Poppins” who refuses to allow Disney to give her beloved book the Hollywood treatment. I can’t wait to see these two acting heavyweights face off and fight about flying umbrellas and Dick Van Dyke.


“Inside Llewyn Davis”

The story of a folk singer struggling to make it in the big city certainly doesn’t sound like blockbuster material, but I’m confident the Coen brothers will add their deft quirkiness to the film and make it at the least interesting, potentially brilliant.


Dec. 25

“47 Ronin”

After taking on kung fu and tai chi in his previous films, Keanu Reeves visits the Land of the Rising Sun to learn the ways of the samurai in “47 Ronin.” While I’m wary of yet another white man saving the Asians type story, the trailer does look somewhat promising, despite the presence of fantasy elements such as a horribly done CGI dragon. Whoa.


“The Wolf of Wall Street”

Director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio team up once again for this true story of financial greed and corruption. While the subject matter is nothing new, I can’t resist seeing how Scorsese and DiCaprio put their own twist on the story.


“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

Ben Stiller directs and stars in this film about a daydreaming man who escapes his mundane life by fantasizing about great adventures around the globe. The first trailer was one of my favorite trailers of the year, and I’m hoping that the film lives up to my expectations. I get a “Forrest Gump” type of feeling from this film, and that in itself is enough to make me go see it. And the songs featured so far in the trailers have been amazing.


“Grudge Match”

Rocky vs. Raging Bull in their 60’s. Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro play two over the hill rival boxers who both want that one last fight. This film obviously won’t be an award contender, but I think it’ll still be a fun film for guys, especially those around my age who grew up watching the two actors in their prime.