Hollywood rolls out its holiday releases

11/10/2013 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 10:19 AM

Editor's note: An earlier version contained incorrect dates for the opening of "American Hustle," "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and "47 Ronin."

The holiday movie season technically started with the release of “Ender’s Game” last weekend, and kicked into high gear with “Thor: The Dark World” this week.

In the next couple of months we’ll also see more big-budget spectacles and a couple of classy flicks vying for Oscar attention.

And then, before you know it, it will be 2014.

There’s lots of movies to see before then, though. Here’s what’s in store:


“The Best Man Holiday” — Sequel to 1999’s “The Best Man,” with college friends reuniting after 15 years during the Christmas season. They soon discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be re-ignited. With Taye Diggs, Nia Long and Morris Chestnut.

Nov. 22

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” — The second film in the series based on the popular books has Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) finding stardom after winning the deadly games. But they also become targets of the Capitol when a rebellion sparks in the districts of Panem.

“Delivery Man” — Comedy with Vince Vaughn as an affable underachiever who finds out he’s fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Imagine the child support he owes.

Nov. 29

“Frozen” — Disney animation (sans Pixar) about a fearless optimist named Anna, who teams up with her friend, Kristoff, to find her sister, Elsa, whose special powers have trapped their kingdom in eternal winter.

“Oldboy” — Director Spike Lee tackles the American remake of this revered genre film, about a man (Josh Brolin) wrongly imprisoned for 20 years who goes in search of his captor when he’s suddenly released.

Dec. 6

“Out of the Furnace” — A man (Christian Bale) whose brother is missing gets fed up with the police investigation surrounding it and takes matters into his own hands. Also starring Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrrelson, Casey Affleck, Willem Dafoe and Forest Whitaker.

“Inside Llewyn Davis” — The latest from Joel and Ethan Coen follows a week in the life of a young singer (Oscar Isaac) as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene in 1961. Also starring Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund and Justin Timberlake

Dec. 13

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” — Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the rest of the gang continue their quest to retrieve their gold from the dragon Smaug. Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen return.

“Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas” — You mean there hasn’t already been a Madea Christmas movie? Well, it was bound to happen. Tyler Perry again goes in drag as feisty grandma Madea, who dispenses her unique form of holiday spirit to those around her.

Dec. 18

“American Hustle” — Stunning con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his seductive British partner Sydney (Amy Adams), is forced to work for wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), who pushes them into the dangerous world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia. Director/co-writer David O. Russell is on a roll after “The Fighter” and “Silver Linings Playbook” — and this looks to be Oscar fodder, too.

Dec. 20

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” — With the ’70s behind him, San Diego’s top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), moves to New York to become the first 24-hour news channel personality. Comedy sequels are notoriously disappointing (ahem, “The Hangover Part II”), but this one looks promising, thanks to the funny guys involved.

“Saving Mr. Banks” — Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney, who is trying to woo author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) in an effort to adapt her beloved novel “Mary Poppins” for the silver screen.

Dec. 25

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” — After lingering in development limbo for more than 10 years, the remake of the film based on James Thurber’s short story finally sees the light of day, as Ben Stiller directs and stars as an office worker who lives in fantasy worlds. Kristen Wiig, in her first post-“Bridesmaids” role, stars as his co-worker and love interest.

“47 Ronin” — A band of samurai set out to avenge the death and dishonor of their master at the hands of a ruthless shogun. The curiously long-absent Keanu Reeves stars. Even more curious, though, is the film’s rocky journey. The Hollywood Reporter said the film’s production was “a tense, combative shoot,” and reports of escalating budgets (near $200 million) rolled in. It was also reported that backing studio Universal pulled an executive takeover in the editing suite. And finally, the film was pushed back from its November 2013 date to February 2013, then pushed back again to Christmas.

Dec. 27

“Lone Survivor” — One of two Oscar hopefuls this year for Universal Pictures (the other being “Rush”) Peter Berg’s contemporary wartime film follows a small team of Navy SEALS facing down hundreds of al-Qaida soldiers. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” — It looks like Martin Scorsese is going to keep working with star Leonardo Di Caprio until he finally guides him to an Oscar win. Here, DiCaprio stars as real-life Jordan Belfort, who rises to be a wealthy stockbroker living the high life but ultimately falls into crime, corruption and trouble with the government.

“August: Osage County” — Based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, the film adaptation boasts a hefty cast — Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney and Juliette Lewis — in a look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma home they grew up in, and to their dysfunctional mother.

“Grudge Match” — Probably the most aptly titled film of the season as Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone play a pair of aging boxing rivals who are coaxed out of retirement for one final bout — 30 years after their last match.

About Movie Maniac

The Eagle's Rod Pocowatchit offers his musings on the screen scene.

Reach Rod at rpocowatchit@wichitaeagle.com.

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